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True Christian Religion, by Emanuel Swedenborg, [1771], tr. by John C. Ager [1906] at

True Christian Religion


All charity that is not conjoined with faith in one God in whom is a Divine trinity, is spurious like the charity of the present church, the faith of which is a faith in successive order in three persons of the same Divinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; and being a faith in three persons, each one of whom is a self-subsistent God, it is a faith in three Gods. To such a faith charity may be joined (as has been done by its supporters), but never can be conjoined; and the charity that is only joined to faith is merely natural, and not spiritual, and is therefore a spurious charity. The same is true of the charity of many other heresies, as the charity of those who deny a Divine trinity and thus approach God the Father only, or the Holy Spirit only, or both of these apart from God the Savior. To the faith of such, charity cannot be conjoined, or when conjoined or joined to it it is a spurious charity. It is called spurious, because it is like the offspring of an illegitimate bed, or like the son of Hagar born to Abraham, who was cast out of the house (Gen. 21:10). Such charity is like fruit upon a tree where it has not grown, but has been fastened to it with a needle; and it is like a carriage to which horses are fastened only by the reins in the driver's hands, and when they spring forward, they drag the driver from his seat, and leave the carriage behind.


But hypocritical charity is the charity of those who in their churches and private dwellings humble themselves almost to the floor before God, devoutly pour forth long prayers, put on a holy expression of countenance, kiss images of the cross and the bones of the dead, and kneel beside sepulchres and there with their mouths mutter words of holy veneration for God, and yet in their heart they are thinking of being themselves worshiped and seeking to be adored as divinities. It is such as these whom the Lord describes in the following words: When thou doest alms, sound not a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites, who love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men (Matt. 6:2, 5). Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye shut up the kingdom of heaven before men; for ye enter not in yourselves, neither do ye suffer those to enter who wish to enter. Woe unto you, hypocrites! For ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte and when he is made, ye make him twofold more a son of hell than yourselves. Woe unto you, hypocrites! For ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are filled with extortion and excess (Matt. 23:13, 15, 25). Well hath Isaiah prophesied of you, hypocrites, saying, This people honoreth Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me (Mark 7:6). Woe unto you, hypocrites! For ye are as graves which appear not, and the men that walk over them know it not (Luke 11:44). Beside other passages. Such are like flesh without blood, like crows and parrots taught to repeat the words of a psalm, and like birds taught to sing the tune of a sacred hymn; and the sound of their voice is like that of a bird-catcher's whistle.


But dead charity is the charity of those whose faith is dead; since the charity is such as the faith is. That they make one, has been shown in the chapter on Faith. That the faith of those who are without works is dead, appears from the Epistle of James (2:17, 20). Furthermore, faith is dead in those who do not believe in God; but believe in living and dead men, and who worship images as holy in themselves, as the gentiles formerly did. The offerings of those who are in such a faith, which for the sake of salvation they bestow upon their miracle-working images, as they call them, including these offerings among works of charity, are precisely like the gold and silver that are put in the urns and monuments of the dead; they are even like the meat given to Cerberus, or the fee paid to Charon for ferriage to the Elysian fields. But the charity of those who believe that there is no God, but only nature instead, is neither spurious, hypocritical, nor dead; it is no charity at all, because it is not joined to any faith, and cannot be called charity, since the quality of charity is determined by faith. Such charity, viewed from heaven, is like bread made of ashes, a cake made of fishes' scales, or fruit made of wax.


XVII. THE FRIENDSHIP OF LOVE AMONG THE EVIL IS INTESTINE HATRED OF EACH OTHER. It has been shown above that every man has an internal and an external, and that his internal is called the internal man and his external the external man. To this may be added, that the internal man is in the spiritual world, and the external in the natural world. Man was so created in order that he might be associated with spirits and angels in their world, and might thereby be able to think analytically, and after death be transferred from his own world to another. By the spiritual world both heaven and hell are meant. As the internal man is in company with spirits and angels in their world, and the external man with men, it is evident that man can be affiliated both with the spirits of hell and with the angels of heaven. By this capacity and power man is distinguished from beasts. Man is essentially [in se] such as he is in his internal man, not such as he is in his external, for the internal man is his spirit, and this acts through the external. The material body with which his spirit is clothed in the natural world, is an accessory for the sake of procreation and for the sake of the formation of the internal man; for the internal man is formed in the natural body as a tree in the soil, or as seed in fruit. More on the internal and external man may be seen above (n. 401).


But what the evil man is as to his internal man, and what the good man is as to his, may be seen from the following brief description of hell and heaven, for the evil man's internal is conjoined with the devils in hell, and the good man's with angels in heaven. Hell from its loves is in the delights of all evils, that is, in the delights of hatred, revenge, murder, plunder and theft, of railing and blasphemy, of denial of God and profanation of the Word. Such delights lurk in lusts upon which man does not reflect. These lusts blaze in these delights like lighted torches; and are what is meant in the Word by infernal fire. But the delights of heaven are the delights of love towards the neighbor and of love to God. [2] Inasmuch as the delights of hell are opposite to the delights of heaven, there is between them a great interspace, into which the delights of heaven flow from above, and those of hell from beneath. While man is living in the world he is in the middle of this interspace, in order that he may be in equilibrium, and thus in a state of freedom to turn either to heaven or to hell. This interspace is what is meant by "the great gulf fixed" between those who are in heaven and those who are in hell (Luke 16:26). [3] From this it can be seen what the friendship of love is among the evil, namely, that in their external man it is posturing and mimicry and pretenses of morality, in order that they may spread their nets and discover opportunities for gratifying their loves' delights, with which their internal man is on fire. Nothing but fear of the law and consequent fears for their reputation and life withholds them and restrains their actions. Consequently their friendship is like a spider in sugar, a viper in bread, a young crocodile in a cake of honey, or a snake in the grass. [4] Such is the friendship of the evil with everyone. But among those confirmed in evil, such as thieves, robbers, and pirates, friendship is intimate so long as they are with one mind bent on acquiring plunder; for they then embrace each other like brothers, enjoy themselves with feasting, singing, and dancing, and conspire to destroy others; yet each one within himself regards his companion as one enemy regards another; this, too, is what a cunning robber sees and fears in his fellow. Evidently, therefore, among such there is no friendship, but intestine hatred. 455a. Any man who has not openly connected himself with evildoers and committed robberies, but has led a civil moral life for the sake of various uses as ends, and yet has not curbed the lust residing in his internal man, may suppose that his friendship is not of such a nature. Nevertheless, from many exemplifications in the spiritual world, it has been granted me to know with certainty that it is such, in different degrees, with all who have rejected faith and despised the holy things of the church, regarding those as nothing to them, but only for the common herd. In some of these the delights of infernal love have lain hidden like fire in smoldering logs covered with bark; in some like coals under ashes; in some like waxen torches that blaze up when fire is applied to them; and in others in other ways. Such is every man who has rejected from his heart the things of religion. The internal man of such is in hell; but being ignorant of this because of their pretended morality in externals so long as they live in the world they acknowledge no one as their neighbor except themselves and their own children; they regard others either with contempt-and then they are like cats lying in wait for birds in their nests-or with hatred, and then they are like wolves when they see dogs that they may devour. These statements are made to show from its opposite what charity is.


XVIII. THE CONJUNCTION OF LOVE TO GOD AND LOVE TOWARDS THE NEIGHBOR It is known that the Law promulgated from Mount Sinai was written upon two tables, one of which related to God and the other to men; that in the hands of Moses they were one table, the writing on the right side of which related to God, and that on the left to men; and that when so presented to the eyes of men the writing on both sides was seen at the same time, thus one side was in view of the other, like Jehovah talking to Moses and Moses to Jehovah, face to face, as it is written. This was done in order that the tables so united might represent the conjunction of God with men, and the reciprocal conjunction of men with God; and this is why the written law was called a Covenant and a Testimony, "covenant" signifying conjunction, and "testimony" life according to the compact. These two tables so united exhibit the conjunction of love to God with love towards the neighbor. The first table includes all things pertaining to love to God, which are, primarily, that man should acknowledge the one God, the Divinity of His Human, and the holiness of the Word, and that God is to be worshiped through the holy things that proceed from Him. That this table includes these things is evident from the explanation, in chapter five, of the commandments of the Decalogue. The second table includes all things pertaining to love towards the neighbor, its first five commandments all things pertaining to action, which are called works, and the last two all things pertaining to the will, thus to charity in its origin; for in these it is said, "Thou shalt not covet," and when man does not covet what belongs to his neighbor, he wishes well to him. That the ten commandments of the Decalogue contain all things pertaining to love to God and all things pertaining to love towards the neighbor, may be seen above (n. 329-331); where it is also shown that there is a conjunction of the two tables in those who are in charity.


It is different with those who merely worship God, and do not at the same time do good works from charity. These are like those who violate covenants. It is different again with those who divide God into three and worship each one separately; and still different with those who do not approach God in His Human; these are such As enter not by the door, but climb up some other way (John 10:1, 9). It is also different with those who from confirmation deny the Lord's Divinity. With all of these there is no conjunction with God, and therefore no salvation; and their charity is nothing but spurious charity, and this does not effect conjunction by the face, but by the side or back. [2] How conjunction is effected shall be told in a few words. With every man God flows into man's knowledge of Him with acknowledgment of Him, and at the same time flows in with His love towards men. The man who receives in the former way only, and not in the latter, receives that influx in the understanding and not in the will, and remains in knowledge of God without an interior acknowledgment of God; and his state is like that of a garden in winter. But the man who receives in both ways, receives the influx in the will and from that in the understanding, thus in the whole mind, and he has an interior acknowledgment of God which vivifies in him the knowledges of God; and his state is like that of a garden in spring. [3] Conjunction is effected by charity, because God loves every man, and as He cannot do good to man immediately, but only mediately through men, He inspires men with His own love, as He inspires parents with love for their children; and the man who receives that love has conjunction with God, and from God's love loves his neighbor; and in him God's love is within man's love towards the neighbor, and produces in him the will and the ability. [4] Moreover, as man does nothing that is good unless it appears to him that the ability, the will, and the doing are from himself, this appearance is granted him; and when he does good from freedom as if of himself, it is imputed to him, and is accepted as the reciprocation by which conjunction is effected. This is like active and passive, and that cooperation of the passive which is effected from the active in the passive. It is also like will in doing, and like thought in words, the soul operating from the inmost into both. It is also like effort in motion; and like the prolific in seed, which from the interior operates in the juices through which the tree grows even to fruit, and through fruit produces new seed. It is also like light in precious stones which is reflected according to the texture of the parts, producing various colors, belonging apparently to the stones, but in fact to the light.


This makes clear the origin and the nature of the conjunction of love to God and love towards the neighbor, as being the influx of God's love for men, the reception of which by man and his cooperation therewith being love towards the neighbor. In a word, conjunction is effected in accordance with this saying of the Lord: At that day ye shall know that I am in My Father, and ye in Me, and I in you (John 14:20). Also according to this, He that hath My commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself unto him; and We will make abode with him (John 14:21-23). All of the Lord's commandments have relation to love towards the neighbor, and in a word they are not doing evil to the neighbor, but doing good to him. That those who do this love God and God loves them, is in accordance with these words of the Lord. Because such is the conjunction of these two loves, John says: He that keepeth the commandments of Jesus Christ abideth in Him and He in him. If a man say, I love God, but hateth his brother, he is a liar; for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from Him, That he who loveth God should love his brother also (1 John 3:24; 4:20, 21).


To this the following Memorable Relations shall be added. First: I saw at a distance five gymnasia, each encompassed by a different kind of light; the first by a flame colored light, the second by a yellow light, the third by a white light, the fourth by a light intermediate between that of noon and evening, the fifth was hardly visible, standing as if shrouded by the shades of evening. And on the roads I saw some on horseback, some in carriages, some walking, and some running and hurrying towards the first gymnasium, which was enveloped in the flamy light. Seeing this, I was seized and impelled by a strong desire to go there and to hear what was under discussion. Therefore I quickly got ready and joined company with those hastening to the first gymnasium, and entered with them; and behold! there was a large assembly, part of which moved off to the right and part to the left, to seat themselves on benches near the walls. Before me I saw a low pulpit, in which stood one who filled the office of president, having a staff in his hand, a cap on his head, and a robe tinted with the flame-colored light of the gymnasium. [2] When the people had assembled, he spoke aloud and said, "Brethren, you will today discuss the question, What is charity? Each one of you can understand that charity is spiritual in its essence, and natural in its practices." Immediately one of those on the first bench on the left, on which those who were reputed wise were sitting, arose and beginning to speak, said, "It is my opinion that charity is morality inspired by faith." This he corroborated thus: "Who does not know that charity follows faith, as a waiting-maid follows her mistress, and that the man who has faith obeys the law, and thus practises charity so spontaneously that he is unaware that it is the law and charity according to which he is living? For if he did this knowingly, and at the same time thought of salvation as his end, he would pollute holy faith with his selfhood [proprium] and thus impair its efficacy. Is not this in accordance with the dogma of our church?" And he looked towards those sitting beside him, among whom were some of the regular clergy, and they nodded assent. [3] "But what," he said, "is spontaneous charity but morality into which everyone is initiated from infancy, and which is therefore in itself natural, but becomes spiritual when inspired by faith? Who, from the moral life of men, can distinguish whether they have faith or not, for every man lives morally? But God alone, who implants and seals faith, recognizes and distinguishes. I therefore assert that charity is morality inspired by faith; and that such morality, owing to the faith in its bosom, is saving, while all other morality brings no salvation, because it claims merit. Thus all those who mix together charity and faith, that is, all who conjoin them inwardly instead of connecting them outwardly, lose their oil; for to mix and join these together would be like putting into the carriage with a primate the servant who stands behind, or like introducing the porter into the dining-hall, and seating him at the table with a nobleman." [4] After this another rose up from the first bench on the right, and said, "It is my opinion that charity is piety inspired by commiseration. This opinion I corroborate as follows: That nothing has such effect in propitiating God as piety arising from a humble heart; and piety prays unceasingly for God to bestow faith and charity; and the Lord says: Ask, and it shall be given you (Matt. 7:7);and because both are given, they are both in that piety. I say that charity is piety inspired by commiseration; for all devout piety commiserates, for piety so moves the heart of man that he groans, and what is that but commiseration? This indeed recedes after we have prayed, but it comes back when we pray again; and when it returns there is piety in it, and thus there is piety in charity. Our priests ascribe all things that promote salvation to faith, and nothing to charity. What then remains but piety praying fervently for both? When I have read the Word I have been able to see nothing else than that faith and charity are the two means of salvation. But when I have consulted the ministers of the church I have heard that faith is the only means, and that charity is nothing. And then it has seemed to me that I was on the sea, in a ship that was drifting between two rocks; and when I feared that the ship would be broken to pieces, I betook myself to a boat and sailed away. My boat is piety; and piety, moreover, is profitable for all things." [5] After him another, from the second bench on the right, arose and said, "It is my opinion that charity is doing good to everyone, virtuous and vicious alike; and this opinion I corroborate as follows: What is charity but goodness of heart? And a good heart wishes good to everyone, to the virtuous and the vicious alike. And the Lord has said, that good ought to be done even to our enemies. Therefore, when you withhold charity from anyone, does not charity on that side become null, and thus like a man who has lost one foot, and goes hopping on the other? A vicious man is a man equally with a virtuous one, and charity regards a man as a man; if he is vicious, what is that to me? It is with charity as with the heat of the sun, which vivifies beasts, both fierce and gentle, wolves as well as sheep, and causes trees to grow, both good and bad, and the thorns as well as the vine." So saying he took in his hand a fresh grape, and said, "It is with charity as it is with this grape; divide it, and all its contents run out." He divided it, and out they ran. [6] After this speech another from the second bench on the left, arose and said, "It is my opinion that charity is to serve by every means one's relatives and friends, which I corroborate thus: Who does not know that charity begins with oneself, since everyone is neighbor to himself? Therefore charity goes forth from oneself through grades of nearness first to brother and sister, and from these to kinsmen and relatives; and thus the progression of charity is self-limited. Those who are beyond its limits are strangers, and strangers are not interiorly recognized, and thus are as aliens to the internal man. But those related by blood and birth are joined together by nature, and friends by custom, which is a second nature, and these become the neighbor in that way. Charity unites also another to itself from within, and so from without, and those not united from within may be called companions merely. Do not all birds recognize their own kindred, not by their plumage but by the sound they make, and when they are near, by the sphere of life exhaled from their bodies? This affection for kindred and consequent conjunction is called in birds instinct; while the same affection in men, when it is for those nearest to them, is truly an instinct of human nature. What except blood causes homogeneity? This a man's mind, which is also his spirit, feels, and, as it were, smells. In this homogeneity and consequent sympathy the essence of charity consists. But heterogeneity, on the contrary, from which antipathy springs, is, as it were, not blood, and therefore not charity. And as habit is second nature, and this also causes homogeneity, it follows that charity is also doing good to one's friends. When one comes from the sea into some port and finds that it is a foreign country, the language and customs of whose inhabitants he is unacquainted with, is he not, as it were, out of himself, feeling none of the joy of love toward them? But if he finds himself in his own country with whose language and customs he is familiar, he is, as it were, within himself, and then feels a joy arising from love, which is the joy of charity." [7] Then from the third bench on the right another arose, and speaking with a loud voice, said: "It is my opinion that charity is giving alms to the poor, and assisting the needy. This surely is charity, for the Divine Word so teaches, the statements of which admit of no contradiction. What is giving to the rich and the possessors of abundance but vain glory, in which there is no charity but only a looking for return? And in this there can be no genuine affection of love towards the neighbor, but only spurious affection, which is effective on earth but not in heaven. Therefore want and poverty ought to be relieved, because into this no idea of recompense enters. In the city where I lived, and where I knew who were virtuous and who were not, I observed that all of the virtuous, when they saw a beggar in the street, would stop and give him alms; while the non-virtuous, seeing a beggar beside them, would pass him by as if blind to his presence and deaf to his voice. And who does not know that the virtuous have charity, and the non-virtuous have not? He who gives to the poor and relieves the needy, is like a shepherd who leads hungry and thirsty sheep to pasture and water; while he who gives only to those who are rich and possess abundance, is like one who devotes himself to the prosperous or presses food and drink upon those who are intoxicated." [8] After him arose another, from the third bench on the left, and said: "It is my opinion that charity is building hospitals, infirmaries, orphans' homes, and asylums, and supporting them by contributions. This I corroborate by the fact that such beneficences and aids are public, and are many leagues beyond private benefactions; consequently charity becomes richer and more replete with good, as the good is multiplied by the number aided, and the reward hoped for from the promises of the Word become more abundant, for as one ploughs and sows, so he reaps. Is not this giving to the poor and relieving the needy in an eminent degree? Does not one thereby secure worldly fame and praises in the humble voice of gratitude from those helped? Does not this exalt the heart, and with it the affection that is called charity, even to the highest point? The rich, who do not walk the streets, but ride, cannot notice and hand pennies to those sitting at the sides of the streets by the wall of the houses; but they make their contributions of such a kind as to serve many at once. But lesser persons who walk the streets and have not stores of wealth, may do otherwise." [9] Hearing this, another from the same bench quickly drowned the voice of the first with his louder voice, saying: "Let not the rich, however, exalt the munificence and excellence of their charity over the pittance that one poor man gives to another; for we know that everyone in what he does acts according to what is suitable to his person, whether he is a king or a magistrate, a commander or an attendant. For charity, viewed in itself, is not estimated by the excellence of the person, and consequently of the gift, but by the amplitude of the affection that prompts it; so that a menial giving one penny may do so from a larger charity than the great man who gives or bequeaths an immense sum. This is in accordance with these words: Jesus saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury; He saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites and He said, of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all (Luke 21:1-3). [10] After these one arose from the fourth bench on the left, and said: "It is my opinion that charity is to endow churches, and to do good to their ministers; which I confirm by this, that he who does so meditates upon what is holy and acts from what is holy in his own mind, and moreover, that this sanctifies his gifts. Charity demands this, because it is in itself holy. Is not all worship in churches holy? For the Lord says, Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them (Matt. 18:20); and the priests His servants conduct the worship. From this I conclude that the gifts which are bestowed upon ministers and churches are superior to those bestowed upon other persons and for other objects. Moreover, there is given to a minister the power to bless, whereby he also sanctifies those gifts; and after that there is nothing that expands and rejoices the mind more than to look upon one's gifts as so many holy shrines." [11] Then one from the fourth bench on the right arose and spoke as follows: "It is my opinion that the old Christian brotherhood is charity. This I confirm by the fact that every church that worships the true God begins in charity the same as the early Christian church did. Because charity unites minds and makes one out of many, the members of that church called themselves brethren-but brethren in Jesus Christ their God. But because they were then surrounded by barbarous nations whom they feared, they established a community of property, which enabled them to enjoy themselves together in harmony, and at the same time conversed together daily at their meetings about the Lord God their Savior Jesus Christ, and at their dinners and suppers about charity; hence their brotherhood. But after those times, when schisms began to spring up, and finally the abominable Arian heresy arose, which with many swept away the idea of the Divinity of the Lord's Human, charity decayed and their brotherhood was dissolved. It is true that all who worship the Lord in truth and keep His commandments are brethren (Matt. 23:8), but brethren in spirit; and as it is unknown at this day what any man is in spirit, for men to call each other brethren is of no account. A brotherhood of faith alone, and still less a brotherhood of faith in any other God than the Lord God the Savior, is not a brotherhood, because in that faith there is no charity, which is what makes brotherhood. I therefore conclude that the old Christian brotherhood was charity. But that was, and now is not; yet I prophesy that it will return." When he had said this, a flame-colored light appeared through the eastern window, and tinged his cheeks, at the sight of which the assembly were amazed. [12] Finally one arose from the fifth bench on the left, and asked permission to add his contribution to the remarks of the last speaker. When this had been granted, he said, "It is my opinion that charity is to forgive everyone his trespasses. This opinion I have drawn from the customary saying of those who approach the Holy Supper; for some then say to their friends, 'Forgive me what I have done amiss;' thinking that they have thus discharged all the duties of charity. But I have thought in my own mind that this is nothing but a painted picture of charity, not the real form of its essence; for this is said both by those who do not forgive, and by those who make no effort to follow charity; and such are not included in the Prayer which the Lord Himself taught, Father, forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. For trespasses are like ulcers, within which, if they are not opened and healed, diseased matter collects, which infects the neighboring parts, and creeping about like a serpent, turns the blood everywhere into such matter. It is the same with trespasses against the neighbor, which, unless removed by repentance and by a life according to the Lord's commandments, remain and devour; while those who, without repentance, merely pray to God to forgive their sins, are like the inhabitants of a city, who, being infected with a contagious disease, go to the chief magistrate and say, Sir, heal us; and he would answer, How can I heal you? Go to a physician, find out what medicines you need, get them for yourselves from an apothecary and take them, and your health will be restored. So the Lord will say to those who pray for the forgiveness of their sins without actual repentance. Open the Word, and read what I have spoken in Isaiah: Ah, sinful nation, laden with iniquity. When ye spread forth your hands, I hide Mine eyes from you; yea, when ye make many prayers, I do not hear. Wash you, put away the evil of your doings from before Mine eyes cease to do evil; learn to do well, and then shall your sins be removed and forgiven (Isa. 1:4, 15-18)." [13] When all this had taken place, I raised my hand, and asked them to permit me, although a stranger, to offer my opinion also. The president proposed this, and consent being given, I spoke as follows: "It is my opinion that charity is to act with judgment from a love of justice in every employment and office, but from a love derived from no other source than the Lord God the Savior. All that I have heard from those sitting upon the benches, both on the right and on the left, are eminent examples of charity; but, as the president of this assembly stated, at first, charity in its origin is spiritual, but in its flowing forth is natural; and natural charity, if it is inwardly spiritual, appears to the angels transparent like a diamond; but if not inwardly spiritual, and therefore purely natural, it appears to the angels like a pearl that resembles the eye of a cooked fish. [14] "It is not for me to say, whether the eminent examples of charity which you have presented in order, are inspired by spiritual charity or not; but I can say what the spiritual that ought to be in them, must be, that they may be natural forms of spiritual charity. The spiritual itself of these is this, that they be done with judgment from a love of justice; that is, that in the exercise of charity man should see clearly whether he is acting from justice, and this he sees from judgment. For a man may do evil by deeds of beneficence; and by what appear to be evil deeds he may do good. For example: One who gives to a needy robber the means wherewith to buy a sword, by a beneficent act is doing evil; although the robber in begging the money did not tell what he would do with it. So again, if one rescues a robber from prison and shows him the way to a forest, saying to himself, It is not my fault that he commits robbery; I have given succor to the man. Take as another example, one who feeds an idler, and prevents his being compelled to work, saying to him, Go into a chamber in my house, and lie in bed; why should you weary yourself? Such a one favors idleness. Or again, take one who promotes relatives and friends with dishonest inclinations to offices of honor, wherein they can plot many kinds of mischief. Who cannot see that such works of charity do not proceed from any love of justice combined with judgment? [15] On the other hand, a man may do good through what appear to be evil deeds. Take as an example a judge who acquits an evil-doer because he sheds tears, pours out words of piety, and begs the judge to pardon him because he is his neighbor. But in fact a judge performs a work of charity when he decrees the man's punishment according to the law; for he thus guards against the man's doing further evil and being a pest to society, which is the neighbor in a higher degree, and he prevents also the scandal of an unjust judgment. Who does not know also, that it is good for servants to be chastised by their masters, or children by their parents, when they do wrong? The same is true of those in hell, all of whom are in the love of doing evil. They are kept shut up in prisons, and when they do evil are punished, which the Lord permits for the sake of their amendment. This is so because the Lord is justice itself, and does whatever He does from judgment itself. [16] From all this it can be seen clearly, why, as just said, spiritual charity is done with judgment from a love of justice, and yet from a love derived from no other source than the Lord God the Savior. This is because all good of charity is from the Lord; for He says, He that abideth in Me and I in him, the same beareth much fruit; for apart from Me ye can do nothing (John 15:5). Also that He has all power in heaven and on earth (Matt. 28:18); and all love of justice with judgment is from no other source than the God of heaven, who is justice itself, and the source of all man's judgment (Jer. 23:5; 33:15). [17] From all this we may conclude that all that has been said about charity from the benches on the right and left, namely, That charity is morality inspired by faith; That it is piety inspired by commiseration; That it is doing good alike to the virtuous and the vicious; That it is to serve by every means one's relatives and friends; That it is giving to the poor and assisting the needy; That it is building infirmaries and supporting them by contributions; That it is endowing churches and doing good to their ministers; That it is the old Christian brotherhood; That it is to forgive everyone his trespasses; all these are eminent examples of charity when they are done with judgment from a love of justice. Otherwise they are not charity, but are merely like brooks separated from their fountains, or like branches torn from their tree; because genuine charity is to believe in the Lord and to act justly and rightly in every employment and office. Therefore he who from the Lord loves justice and practises it with judgment, is charity in its image and likeness." [18] When this had been said there was silence, such as comes to those who from their internal man, but not as yet in the external, see and acknowledge that something is true. This I perceived from their faces. But I was then suddenly removed out of their sight, returning from the spirit into my material body; for the natural man, because of his being clothed with a material body, is not visible to any spiritual man, that is, to a spirit or angel, nor they to him.


Second Memorable Relation: Once when looking about in the spiritual world I heard something like the gnashing of teeth, also a kind of beating, and mingled with these a grating sound, and I asked what they were. The angels who were with me said: "They are fraternities, which are called by us debating clubs, where they dispute with each other. Their disputations sound at a distance in this way, but near at hand their disputations only are heard." Drawing near, I saw huts built of reeds plastered together with mud. I wished to look in through a window (not being permitted to enter through the door, because light would then flow in from heaven and produce confusion), but there was no window. But just then a window was made suddenly on the right side, and then I heard them complaining that they were in darkness. Presently a window was made on the left side, that on the right being closed, and then the darkness was gradually dispelled, and they appeared to themselves to be in their proper light. Afterward I was permitted to enter by the door and listen. In the center there was a table, and benches round about; yet to me they all seemed to be standing on the benches and disputing bitterly with each other about faith and charity; one party maintained that faith is the essential of the church, and the other, charity. Those who made faith the essential thing, said: "By faith do we not deal with God, and by charity with man? Therefore is not faith heavenly, and charity earthly? Is it not by means of heavenly things that we are saved, and not by means of earthly things? Again, cannot God bestow faith from heaven, because it is heavenly, and must not man acquire charity for himself, because it is earthly? And what man acquires for himself does not pertain to the church, and thus is not saving. Therefore can anyone be justified before God by the works that are called the works of charity? Believe us, that we are not only justified but also sanctified by faith alone if our faith is not defiled by a sense of merit arising from works of charity;" and so on. [2] But those who made charity the essential of the church sharply refuted these arguments, saying: "Charity is saving, and not faith. Does not God hold all men dear, and desire the good of all? How can God effect this good except through men? Does God merely give us the power to talk to men about matters of faith, and not the power to do for them what charity requires? Do you not see that your saying that charity is earthly is absurd? Charity is heaven, and because you do not do the good of charity, your faith is earthly. How do you receive your faith except like stocks or stones? You say, by hearing the Word. But how can the Word operate merely by being heard, and how upon a stock or a stone? It may be that you are quickened, yourselves being wholly unconscious of it. But what is the quickening, except that you are able to say that faith alone justifies and saves? And what faith is, and what kind of faith is saving, you do not know." [3] Then one arose who by the angel conversing with me was called a syncretist. He took off his cap and placed it on the table, but hastily put it on his head again, because he was bald. He said: "Listen to me; you are all wrong. It is true that faith is spiritual, and charity is moral, but still they are conjoined; and they are conjoined by means of the Word, and thus by means of the Holy Spirit, and by their effect which may be called obedience, although man has no more part whatever in it because when faith is brought in man knows no more about it than a statue. I have long meditated on these subjects, and I have at length discovered that man may accept from God a faith that is spiritual, but he can no more be moved by God to a charity that is spiritual than a stock." [4] When this was said those who were in faith alone applauded, but those who were in charity hissed; and these, being indignant, said; "Listen, friend; you do not know that there is spiritual moral life and merely natural moral life-spiritual moral life with those who do good from God and yet as if of themselves, and merely natural moral life with those who do good from hell, and yet as if of themselves." [5] I said that the disputation sounded like the gnashing of teeth, also like a kind of beating mingled with a grating sound. The disputation that sounded like the gnashing of teeth was from those who made faith the one only essential of the church; the beating was from those who made charity the one only essential; and the mingled grating sound was from the syncretist. The tones of their voices were so heard at a distance, because they had all when in the other world been given to disputation, and had not shunned any evil, and therefore had not done any good that was from a spiritual source. Moreover, they were wholly ignorant that the all of faith is truth and the all of charity is good; that truth without good is not truth in spirit, and that good without truth is not good in spirit; and thus that each constitutes the other.


Third Memorable Relation I was once carried away in spirit to the southern quarter of the spiritual world, and into a certain paradise there; and I saw that this paradise excelled all that I had before surveyed. This was because a garden signifies intelligence, and because all those who are pre-eminent in intelligence are conveyed to the south. The garden of Eden, in which were Adam and his wife, has no other significance; so their expulsion therefrom involved expulsion from intelligence, and thus also from integrity of life. While I was walking in this southern paradise, I noticed certain persons sitting under a laurel eating figs. I turned to them and asked them for some figs, which they gave me; and lo, in my hand the figs became grapes. As I wondered at this, an angelic spirit who stood near me said, "The figs became grapes in your hand because figs by correspondence signify the goods of charity and of faith therefrom in the natural or external man, while grapes signify the goods of charity and of faith therefrom in the spiritual or internal man; and this has happened to you because you love spiritual things; for in our world all things occur and come forth, and are also changed, in accordance with correspondences." [2] Then suddenly there came upon me a desire to know how man can do good from God, and yet do it altogether as if of himself. I therefore asked those who were eating the figs how they understood the matter. They said that they could understand it only in this way, that God effects this inwardly in man and through man when he is ignorant of it; because if man were conscious of it, and in that state were to do good, he would do only apparent good, which inwardly is evil. "For all that goes forth from man goes forth from his own [proprium], and this is evil from birth; and how can good from God and evil from man be conjoined, and thus conjointly go forth into act? What is man's own in matters pertaining to salvation constantly breathes forth a sense of merit, and so far as it does this, it detracts from the Lord His own merit; and this is the height of injustice and impiety. In a word, if the good which God works in man, were to inflow into man's willing and thence into his doing, the good would assuredly be defiled and also profaned, and this God never permits. Man can think, indeed, that the good he does is from God, and can say that it is essentially God's; but still that it is so we do not comprehend." [3] Then I opened my mind and said, "You do not comprehend this because you think from appearance, and thought confirmed from appearance is fallacy. To you there is such appearance and consequent fallacy because you believe everything that a man thinks and wills and does and says therefrom, is in himself, and consequently from himself, when in fact there is no part of them in him except the state to receive what inflows. Man is not life in himself, but an organ receptive of life. The Lord is life in Himself, as He says in John: As the Father hath life in Himself, so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself (5:26 besides elsewhere, as in John 11:25; 14:6, 19). [4] "There are two things that constitute life, namely, love and wisdom, or what is the same thing, the good of love and the truth of wisdom. These flow in from God, and are received by man as if they were his; and because they are so felt by man they go forth from man as if they were his. Their being so felt by man is the Lord's gift, to the end that what flows in may affect man, and so be received and remain. But inasmuch as all evil likewise flows in, not from God but from hell, and is received with delight (because man is such an organ by birth), so good is received from God only in proportion as evil is removed by man as if of himself; and this is done by repentance coupled with faith in the Lord. [5] That love and wisdom, charity and faith, or, more generally speaking, the good of love and charity, and the truth of wisdom and faith, flow in, and that what flows in appears in man to be wholly his own, and thus goes forth from his own, all this can clearly be seen from the sense of sight, of hearing, of smell, of taste, and of touch. All things that are felt in the organs of those senses flow into those organs from without and are felt within them. It is the same in the organs of the internal senses, with the sole difference that spiritual things, which are not manifest, flow into the former. In a word, man is an organ receptive of life from God; consequently, so far as he refrains from evil, he is a recipient of good. "The power to refrain from evil the Lord gives to every man, because He gives him the power to will and to understand; and whatever man does from his will in accord with his understanding, or, what is the same, from freedom of will in accord with reason of the understanding, is permanent. It is by means of this that the Lord brings man into a state of conjunction with Himself, and in that state reforms, regenerates, and saves him. [6] "The life that flows into man is life that goes forth from the Lord, which life is also called the Spirit of God, and in the Word the Holy Spirit, and this life is said to enlighten and vivify man, and even to work in him. But his life is varied and modified according to the organization induced by means of his love. You may also know that all the good of love and charity, and all the truth of wisdom and faith flow in, and are not in man [originally]. This may be known from the fact that he who thinks that there is anything of the kind in man by creation must needs conclude at last that God has infused Himself into man, and thus that men are partly gods; and yet those who so think from faith become devils, and with us smell like corpses. [7] "Furthermore, what is man's action but the mind acting? For what the mind wills and thinks it does and says by means of its organ the body; so when the mind is led by the Lord, action and speech are also led by Him; and these are by Him when man believes in Him. If this were not so, explain, if you can, why the Lord, in thousands of places in His Word, has commanded man to love his neighbor, to perform the good works of charity, to bear fruit like a tree, and to keep the commandments, and all this that he may be saved. And again, why He has said that man shall be judged according to his deeds or works, those who do good to heaven and life, and those who do evil to hell and death. How could the Lord have said such things, if all that goes forth from man must need be a matter of merit, and therefore evil? Be it known to you, then, that if the mind is charity, the action is charity also; but if the mind is faith alone, which is faith separate from spiritual charity, the action also is that faith." [8] Hearing this, those sitting under the laurel said, "That you have spoken rightly we comprehend, and yet do not comprehend." I replied, "You comprehend that I have spoken rightly from the general perception that man has from the influx of light from heaven when he hears any truth; but your failure to comprehend is from the self-perception that man has from the influx of light from the world. In wise men these two kinds of perception, internal and external, or spiritual and natural, make one. You also can make them one if you look to the Lord and put away evils." Because they understood this, I plucked some twigs from a vine and handed them to them, saying, "Do you believe that this is of me, or of the Lord?" They said that it was from me, but of the Lord. And lo, the twigs put forth grapes in their hands. But as I withdrew I saw under a green olive tree around which a vine had entwined itself, a cedar table on which there was a book. I looked and lo, it was a book written by me, entitled Arcana Coelestia and I said that it was fully shown in that book that man is not life but an organ receptive of life; also that life cannot be created and when so created be in man, any more than light in the eye.


Fourth Memorable Relation: Looking toward the seashore in the spiritual world, I saw a splendid dockyard. I went near and looked into it, and behold, there were large and small vessels, and in them merchandise of every kind, and on benches there were sitting boys and girls distributing the merchandise to all who wanted it. And they said, "We are waiting to see our beautiful tortoises, which will soon rise up out of the sea to us." And behold, I saw both large and small tortoises, on the shells and scales of which sat young tortoises looking toward the surrounding islands. The paternal tortoises had two heads, a large one covered over with a shell like the shells on their bodies, which gave them a reddish hue, and a small one, such as tortoises have; this they drew back into the forepart of the body, and also, in some unseen way, inserted into the larger head. But I kept my eyes on the large red head; and I saw that it had a face like the face of a man, and it talked with the boys and girls on the seats and licked their hands. Then the boys and girls patted them, and gave them food and dainties, and also costly things, such as silk for clothing, thyine-wood for tables, purple for decorations, and scarlet for coloring. [2] Seeing these things, I wished to know what they represented, as I knew that all things that appear in the spiritual world are correspondences, and represent the spiritual things pertaining to affection and to thought therefrom. They then spoke to me from heaven and said, "You yourself know what the dockyard represents, and the ships, and the boys and girls that are on them; but you do not know what the tortoises signify." And they said, "The tortoises represent such of the clergy there as altogether separate faith from charity and its good works, affirming in themselves, that there is clearly no conjunction of these, but that the Holy Spirit, through man's faith in God the Father on account of the merit of the Son, enters into man, and purifies his interiors even to his own will; out of which they make a sort of oval plane; and they claim that when the operation of the Holy Spirit comes near this plane, it bends itself around it towards the left and does not touch it at all; so that the inner or higher part of man's nature is for God, and the outer or lower part for man; consequently nothing that man does, whether good or evil, is apparent to God - not the good, because this is a matter of merit, nor the evil, because it is evil, for if either of these were to appear to God, man would perish because of it. And this being so, man is at liberty to will and think and say and do whatever he pleases, provided he is discreet before the world." [3] I asked whether they also asserted that man is permitted to think of God as not omnipresent and omniscient. They answered from heaven that this is permitted, for the reason that in a man who has acquired faith, and has been purified and justified thereby, God does not look at anything pertaining to his thought and will, and that he still retains in his inner bosom, or in the higher region of his mind or nature, the faith that he had received in the act of faith, it being sometimes possible for that act to return without man's being conscious of it. "These are the things represented by the small head, which they draw into the forepart of the body, and insert into the larger head when they are talking with the laity, for with them they do not talk from the small head, but from the large one, which in appearance is provided in front with a human face; and with them they talk from the Word about love, charity, good works, the commandments of the Decalogue, and repentance, selecting from the Word almost everything that is there said on these subjects. But in so doing they insert the small head into the large one, and from this they understand inwardly in themselves that none of these things are to be done for the sake of God and salvation, but only for the sake of public and private good. [4] And inasmuch as they talk about these subjects from the Word, especially about the Gospel, the operation of the Holy Spirit, and salvation, in a pleasing and elegant manner, they seem to their hearers to be handsome men and the wisest in all the world. This is why, as you saw, costly and precious things were given them by the boys and girls who sat upon the benches in the vessels; also why you saw them represented as tortoises. In your world they are but little distinguished from others, except by this, that they imagine themselves the wisest of men, and laugh at others, even at those who entertain a like doctrine of faith but are not in these mysteries. They carry with them on their clothing a certain mark by which they make themselves distinguishable from others." [5] He who was talking to me said, "I will not tell you what their sentiments are respecting other matters of faith, such as election, freedom of choice, baptism, and the holy supper, which are of such a nature that they do not divulge them; but we in heaven know what they are. But because they are such in the world, and because no one is allowed after death to think one thing and say another, and therefore they can then do no otherwise than speak from the insanities of their thoughts, they are regarded as insane and are expelled from societies, and finally sent down to the bottomless pit spoken of in Revelation (9:2). There they become corporeal spirits, and look like the mummies of the Egyptians. For a callousness has been induced upon the interiors of their minds, owing to the barrier they had interposed when they were in the world. The infernal society composed of them borders upon the infernal society from the Machiavelians, and they pass indiscriminately from one to the other, and call each other fellow-members. But they go back because there is a difference between them, arising from the fact that there has been with them some religious principle respecting the act of justification by faith, while the Machiavelians have no religious principle at all." [6] After I had seen them expelled from societies and collected together to be cast down, I saw a vessel flying in the air with seven sails, and therein officers and sailors dressed in purple clothing and having splendid laurels on their caps, and shouting, "Lo, we are in heaven; we are purple-robed doctors of the highest degree, since of all the wise men among the clergy in Europe we are the heads." I wondered what this meant, and was told that they were images of pride and of the visionary thoughts called fantasies, which spring from those who before appeared as tortoises, but these had now been cast out of the societies as insane and gathered into one body and now stood together in one place. I then wished to speak with them, and therefore went to the place where they were standing and saluted them, and said, "Are you those who have separated the internals of men from their externals, and who have separated the operation of the Holy Spirit, as being in faith, from its cooperation with man outside of faith, and thus you have separated God from man? Have you not thus not only removed charity itself and the works of charity from faith, as many others of the learned clergy have done, but also faith itself from man as to its manifestation before God? [7] But I pray you, which do you prefer, that I should speak to you on this matter from reason, or from Holy Scripture?" They said, "Speak first from reason." And I spoke as follows, "How can the internal man and external man be separated? Who does not see or cannot see from common perception, that all of man's interiors go forth and are continued into his exteriors, and even into his outermosts, in order to work out their effects and produce their works? Are not internals for the sake of externals, that they may terminate in them and find permanence in them, and so come forth, nearly the same as a column rests upon its base? You can see that unless there were a continuation and thus a conjunction, outermosts would dissolve and pass away like bubbles in the air. Who can deny that the interior operations of God in man are myriads of myriads and of these man knows nothing? And what need is there of his knowing about them, provided he knows about the outermosts, in which, with his thought and will, he is together with God? [8] But this shall be illustrated by an example. Does man understand the interior operations of his speech, as how the lungs draw in the air, and fill the little vessels with it, and the bronchial tubes, and the lobes; how they send out the air into the trachea, and there turn it into sound; how that sound is modified in the glottis with the aid of the larynx; and how the tongue then articulates it, and the lips complete the articulation that it may become speech? Do not all these interior operations, of which man knows nothing, exist for the sake of the outermost, which is that man may have power to speak? Remove or separate one of these internals from its continuity with the outermosts, and could man speak any more than a stock? [9] Take another example. The two hands are the outermosts of man. Do not the interiors, which are continued thither, come from the head through the neck, also through the chest, the shoulders, the arms, and the forearms? And there are the innumerable muscular textures, innumerable battalions of motor fibers, innumerable combinations of nerves and blood-vessels, and the many bony articulations with their ligaments and membranes. What does a man know about these things? And yet the working of his hands is from each and all of them. Suppose that these interior parts were to turn back to the right or left near the elbow, instead of continuing onward, would not the hand drop down from the forearm and rot like something torn away from the body and deprived of life? If you will believe it, it would be with the hand as it would be with the body if the man were beheaded. It would be precisely the same with the human mind and its two lives, the will and the understanding, if the Divine operations, which are those of faith and charity, were to cease half way and not pass by a continuous course even to the man himself. Clearly man would then be not merely a brute, but a rotten stick. All this is in accordance with reason. [10] Furthermore, if you will listen, it is also in accordance with the Sacred Scripture. Does not the Lord say, Abide in Me, and I in you. I am the Vine and ye are the branches. He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit (John 15:4, 6). Is not the fruit the good works which the Lord does through man, and man does of himself from the Lord? The Lord also says, That He stands at the door and knocks, and that He comes in to him that opens, and sups with him, and he with Him (Rev. 3:20). Does not the Lord give pounds and talents to man to trade with and profit by, and as man profits by them, does He not give him eternal life? (Matt. 25:14-30; Luke 19:13-26). And again: That He gives wages to every man according to the labor done in His vineyard (Matt. 20:1-16). These are but a few passages. Pages might be filled from the Word on this subject, that man ought to bear fruit like a tree, to do according to the commandments, to love God and the neighbor, and so forth. [11] But I am aware that your self-intelligence is unable to hold to anything such as it is in itself, that is in common with these things from the Word, for although you give utterance to it, your ideas pervert it. And you cannot do otherwise, because you remove from man everything belonging to God as to communication and conjunction. What then remains but to remove all that pertains to worship also?" Afterward these spirits appeared to me in the light of heaven, which discloses and manifests the character of everyone. And they did not then appear as they did before, in a ship in the air, as if in heaven; neither were they clad in purple robes and crowned with laurel, but in a sandy place, in garments of rags, and girt about the loins with network like fishers' nets, through which their nakedness was visible. And then they were sent down to the society bordering on that of the Machiavellians.


CHAPTER 8. FREEDOM OF CHOICE. I. Before the doctrine of the New Church respecting freedom of choice can be properly set forth, it is necessary to premise what the present church teaches on that subject in its dogmatic books, for unless this is done a man who has sound sense and religion may believe that it is not worth while to write anything new about it. For he would say to himself, "Who does not know that man has freedom of choice in spiritual things? Otherwise, why should priests preach that men should believe in God, should be converted, should live according to the precepts in the Word, should fight against the lusts of the flesh, and should make themselves new creatures?" and so on. Thus he cannot but think within himself that all this would be mere empty words, if there were no freedom of choice in matters of salvation, and that to deny it would be folly, because contrary to common sense. Nevertheless that the present church stands opposed to freedom of choice and banishes it from its temples, may be seen from the following extracts from the book called the Formula Concordiae, which the evangelical churches swear allegiance to. That a like teaching and therefore a like belief respecting freedom of choice prevails with the Reformed, and likewise throughout the entire Christian world, and thus in Germany, Sweden, Denmark, England and Holland, is evident from their dogmatic books. The extracts that follow are taken from the Formula Concordiae, the Leipsic edition of 1756.


(i) "The doctors of the Augsburg Confession assert, that owing to the fall of our first parents, man is so thoroughly corrupt, that in spiritual matters, which have regard to our conversion and salvation, he is by nature blind, and neither understands nor is able to understand the Word of God when preached, but regards it as a foolish thing, and never of himself draws nigh unto God; but is rather an enemy of God, and so remains until by the power of the Holy Spirit, operative through the Word preached and heard, out of pure grace, without any co-operation on his part he is converted, gifted with faith, regenerated and renewed" (page 665). [2] (ii) "We believe that in spiritual and Divine things, the understanding, heart, and will of the man who has not been born again, are wholly unable, by his own natural powers, to understand, believe, embrace, think, will, begin, finish, act, operate or co-operate; but that as to good he is utterly corrupt and dead, so that in his nature since the fall, before his regeneration, there does not remain the least spark of spiritual power by which he can prepare himself for the grace of God, or grasp it when offered, or adapt himself to it, and of himself be capable of receiving it. Neither can he by his own powers contribute in any way to his own conversion, either in the whole or the half or the smallest part, or act, operate, or co-operate from himself, or as if from himself; but he is a servant of sin and a slave to Satan, by whom he is moved. Consequently his natural freedom of choice, by reason of his corrupted powers and his depraved nature, is active and efficient only in those things that are displeasing to God and opposed to Him" (page 656). [3] (iii) "In civil and natural matters man is diligent and intelligent, but in spiritual and Divine matters, which look to the soul's salvation, he is like a stock or a stone, or like the pillar of salt into which Lot's wife was turned, which have not the use of eyes or mouth or any of the senses" (page 661). [4] (iv) "Man, however, has the power of locomotion, or of controlling his external members, also the ability to hear the Gospel, and in some measure meditate on it; and yet in his secret thoughts he despises it as a foolish thing, and is unable to believe it; and in this respect he is worse than a stock, unless the Holy Spirit is efficacious in him, enkindling and producing in him faith and other virtues pleasing to God, and also obedience" (page 662). [5] (v) "In one sense it may be said that man is not a stone or a stock. A stone or a stock does not resist, neither does it understand or feel what takes place in itself, as man by his will resists God until he has been converted to God. So it is true that before conversion man is a rational creature, endowed with understanding, get not in Divine things; and with a will, yet not such as wills any saving good. Nevertheless, he is unable to contribute anything to his own salvation, and in this respect is worse than a stock or a stone" (pages 672, 673). [6] (vi) "The whole of conversion is the operation, gift, and work of the Holy Spirit alone, who effects and operates it by his own virtue and power through the Word, in the understanding, heart, and will of man as in a passive subject, where the man does nothing, but is purely passive. Nevertheless, this is not done in the same way as a statue is formed from stone, or a seal is impressed upon wax, since the wax has neither knowledge nor will" (page 681). [7] (vii) "According to the sayings of some of the fathers and later doctors, 'God draws only the willing;' therefore in conversion man's will does something. But this statement is not conformable to sound doctrine, for it confirms a false opinion respecting the powers of human choice in conversion" (page 582). [8] (viii) "In external worldly affairs, which are subject to reason, there is still left to man some share of understanding, ability, and faculty; although these wretched remnants are exceedingly feeble; and moreover, insignificant as they are, they are so poisoned and contaminated by hereditary disease, that in the sight of God they are worthless" (page 641): [9] (ix) "In conversion, whereby from being a child of wrath man becomes a child of grace, he does not co-operate with the Holy Spirit, since his conversion is the work exclusively and wholly of the spirit" (pages 219, 579 and following; 663 and following; Appendix, page 143). "Nevertheless, the man who is born anew through the power of the Holy Spirit may co-operate, although much infirmity accompanies his co-operation; and he works well so far and so long as he is led, ruled, and guided by the Holy Spirit. Nevertheless, he does not cooperate with the Holy Spirit in the same way as two horses together draw a carriage" (page 674). [10] (x) "Original sin is not some wrong that is actually perpetrated, but it is inmostly inherent and fixed in man's nature, substance and essence. It is the fountain of all actual sins, such as depraved thoughts and conversation, and evil deeds" (page 577). "This hereditary disease, by which man's whole nature has been corrupted, is a horrible sin, and is indeed the beginning and head of all sins, from which as a source and fountain all transgressions flow forth" (page 640). "By this sin, as if by a spiritual leprosy, even throughout the inmost parts and deepest recesses of the heart, all of man's nature is in the sight of God wholly infected and corrupted; and on account of this corruption the person of man is by the law of God accused and damned, so that we are by nature children of wrath and bondsmen of death and damnation, unless by the gift of Christ's merit we are delivered and preserved from these evils" (page 639). "For this reason there is a total want or deprivation of the original righteousness or image of God created in connection with man in Paradise, and this is the source of the impotence, folly, and stupidity which render man utterly incompetent in all Divine and spiritual things. In the place of the lost image of God in man, there is the inmost, vilest, deepest inscrutable, and ineffable corruption of his whole nature and of all his powers (especially of the higher and chief faculties of the soul), in mind, understanding, heart, and will" (page 640).


These are the precepts, dogmas, and canons of the present church respecting man's freedom of choice in spiritual and in natural things, as also respecting original sin. They are here presented in order that the precepts, dogmas, and canons of the New Church on these subjects may be seen more clearly; for from the two formulas so contrasted the truth appears in the light, just as when an ugly face is placed beside a handsome one in a picture, the two being seen at the same time, the beauty of one and the ugliness of the other are clearly displayed to the eye. The canons of the New Church here follow.


II. THE PLACING OF TWO TREES IN THE GARDEN OF EDEN, ONE OF LIFE, AND THE OTHER OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL, SIGNIFIES THAT FREEDOM OF CHOICE IN THINGS SPIRITUAL HAS BEEN GIVEN TO MAN. It is believed by many that by Adam and Eve in the book of Moses the first created persons are not meant, and in proof of this, arguments respecting Pre-adamites have been brought forward, drawn from the computations and chronologies of some heathen nations, and from the saying of Cain, Adam's firstborn, to Jehovah: I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer in the earth, so that whosoever findeth me shall slay me. Therefore Jehovah set a sign upon Cain, lest any finding him should slay him (Gen. 4:14, 15). Afterwards Cain went out from the presence of Jehovah, and dwelt in the land of Nod, and builded a city (Gen. 4:16, 17). From this it is claimed that the earth was inhabited before the time of Adam. But that by Adam and his wife the Most Ancient church on this earth is meant has been abundantly shown in the Arcana Coelestia published by me at London; and in that work it is also shown that "the garden of Eden" means the wisdom of the men of that church; "the tree of life," the Lord in man and man in the Lord; "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil," man not in the Lord but in what is his own (as he is who believes that he does everything, even good, of himself); and that "eating" from that tree means the appropriation of evil.


"The garden of Eden" in the Word does not mean a garden, but intelligence, nor does "tree" mean any tree, but man. That "the garden of Eden" signifies intelligence and wisdom, can be seen from the following passages: In thy wisdom and thine intelligence thou hast made to thyself wealth (Ezek. 28:4). Also in what follows: Full of wisdom, thou has been in Eden the garden of God, every precious stone was thy covering (Ezek. 28:4, 12, 13). This is said of the prince and king of Tyre, of whom wisdom is predicated, because "Tyre" in the Word signifies the church in respect to knowledges of truth and good through which comes wisdom; "the precious stones" which were his covering, also signify knowledges of truth and good; for the prince and the king of Tyre were not in the garden of Eden. [2] And again in Ezekiel: Asshur a cedar in Lebanon. The cedars in the garden of God have not hidden it. No tree in the garden of God was like unto it in its beauty. All the trees of Eden in the garden of God envied it (Ezek. 31:3, 8, 9). And again: To whom art thou thus become like in glory and in greatness among the trees of Eden? (verse 18). This is said of Assyria, because in the Word it signifies rationality and intelligence therefrom. [3] In Isaiah: Jehovah shall comfort Zion, He will turn her desert into Eden, and her wilderness into the garden of Jehovah (51:3). Here "Zion" means the church, and "Eden" and "the garden of Jehovah" mean wisdom and intelligence. In the Apocalypse: To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God (2:7). In the midst of the street, and on either side of the river, there will be the tree of life (22:2). [4] From these passages it is clear that "the garden of Eden" in which Adam is said to have been placed, means intelligence and wisdom, because like thing are said of Tyre, Assyria, and Zion. Elsewhere in the Word "garden" signifies intelligence (as in Isaiah 58:11; 61:11; Jer. 31:12; Amos 9:14; Num. 24:6). This spiritual meaning of a garden derives its cause from representations in the spiritual world, where paradises are seen wherever the angels are in intelligence and wisdom; the very intelligence and wisdom which they possess from the Lord cause such things to be present about them; and this comes from correspondence, for all things that exist in the spiritual world are correspondences.


That "tree" signifies man, can be seen from the following passages in the Word: And all the trees of the field shall know that I Jehovah humble the high tree, exalt the low tree, dry up the green tree, and make the dry tree to bud (Ezek. 17:24). Blessed is the man whose delight is in the law. He shall be like a tree planted by the streams of waters, that bringeth forth its fruits in its season (Ps. 1:1-3; Jer. 17:3). Praise Jehovah, fruitful trees (Ps. 148:7, 9). The trees of Jehovah are full (Ps. 104:16). The axe is laid unto the root of the tree; every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit shall be hewn down (Matt. 3:10; 7:16-21). Either make the tree good and the fruit good, or else make the tree corrupt [and the fruit corrupt]; for the tree is known by its fruit (Matt. 12:33; Luke 6:43, 44). I will kindle a fire that shall devour every green tree and every dry tree (Ezek. 20:47). Because "tree" signifies man, it was a statute That the fruit of a tree not serviceable for food in the land of Canaan should be as uncircumcised (Lev. 19:23, 24). Because an olive tree signifies a man of the celestial church, it is said: Of the two witnesses who prophesied, that they were two olive trees standing near the God of the whole earth (Apoc. 11:4; also Zech. 4:3, 11, 12). And in David: I am like a green olive tree in the house of God (Ps. 52:3). And in Jeremiah: Jehovah called thy name, a green olive tree, fair and of goodly fruit (Jer. 11:16, 17); besides other passages which are not here presented on account of their great number.


At this day anyone who is inwardly wise is able to see or divine that what is written of Adam and his wife involves spiritual things, which no one has heretofore known, because the spiritual sense of the Word has not been disclosed until now. Who cannot readily see that Jehovah could not have planted two trees in the garden, and one of them for a stumbling-block, except for the sake of some spiritual representation? Again, does it square with Divine justice that because they both ate of that tree they were accursed, and that this curse clings to every man that comes after them, thus that the whole human race was damned for the fault of one man, in which there was no evil arising from lust of the flesh or iniquity of heart? Why did not Jehovah in the first place restrain man from eating of the tree, since He was present and saw the consequences? And why did He not hurl the serpent into Hades before he had persuaded them? But, my friend, God did not do this, because He would thus have deprived man of his freedom of choice, from which man is man, and not a beast. When this is known it is very evident that by these two trees, one of life and the other of death, man's freedom of choice in spiritual things is represented. Moreover, inherited evil is not from that source, but from parents, by whom an inclination to the evil in which they themselves have been is transmitted to their children. The truth of this is clearly seen by anyone who carefully studies the manners, dispositions, and faces of the children, and even of the households that have descended from one father. Nevertheless, it depends on each one in a family whether he will accede to or withdraw from inherited evil, since everyone is left to his own choice. But the particular significance of the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil has been fully explained in the Memorable Relation recorded above (n. 48), which see.


III. MAN IS NOT LIFE, BUT A RECEPTACLE OF LIFE FROM GOD. It is generally believed that life is in man as his own, thus that he is not only a receptacle of life, but is also life. This general belief is from its so appearing, since man lives; that is, feels, thinks, speaks, and acts, wholly as if from himself. Wherefore the statement that man is a receptacle of life, and not life, must needs seem like something unheard of, or like a paradox, because it is opposed to the appearance, and thus to sensual thought. The cause of the fallacious belief that man is also life itself, consequently that life was created in man and afterward generated by parents, I have adduced from the appearance; but the reason why the fallacy is drawn from the appearance, is that most men at the present day are natural, and but few are spiritual, and the natural man judges from appearances and their fallacies, which are diametrically opposed to the truth that man is not life but only a receptacle of life. [2] That man is not life but a receptacle of life from God can be seen from these evident proofs, that all created things are in themselves finite, and that man, being finite, could have been created only from things finite. Therefore it is said in the book of Creation, that Adam was made from the earth and its dust, from which he was also named, for "Adam" means the earth's soil; and it is a fact that every man consists only of such things as are in the earth, and from the earth in the atmospheres. Those things that are in the atmospheres from the earth man absorbs by means of his lungs and the pores of his whole body, and the grosser elements he absorbs by means of food composed of earthy substances. [3] But in regard to man's spirit, that also is created from finite things. What is man's spirit but a receptacle of the life of the mind? The finite things of which it is composed are spiritual substances, which are in the spiritual world, and are also brought together in our earth and hidden therein. Unless they were therein along with material things no seed could be impregnated from things inmost, and then grow in a wonderful manner undeviatingly from the first shoot even to fruit and to new seed. Neither could any worms be procreated from effluvia from the earth and exhalations from vegetable matters, with which the atmospheres are impregnated. [4] Who can think rationally that the infinite can create anything but finite things, and that man, being finite, is anything but a form which the infinite can vivify from the life in itself? And this is what is meant by these words: Jehovah God formed man, the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of lives (Gen. 2:7). God, because He is infinite, is Life in Himself. This He cannot create and then transfer into man, for that would be to make man God. That this was done was the insane idea of the serpent or the devil, and from him of Adam and Eve; for the serpent said: In the day ye eat of the fruit of this tree your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as God (Gen. 3:5). [5] This dire persuasion, that God transfused and transferred Himself into men, was held by the men of the Most Ancient church at its end, when it was consummated. This I have heard from their own mouths; and on account of that horrible belief that they were consequently gods, they lie deeply hidden in a cavern near to which no one can approach without being seized by an inward dizziness which causes him to fall. That the Most Ancient church is meant and described by Adam and his wife, has been made known in the preceding section.


Who does not see, when he is able to think from reason elevated above the sensual things of the body, that life is not creatable? For what is life but the inmost activity of the love and wisdom that are in God and are God, which life, indeed, may be called the essential living force? He who sees this can also see that this life cannot be transferred into any man, except in connection with love and wisdom. Who denies or can deny that every good of love and every truth of wisdom is solely from God, and that so far as man receives these from God he lives from God, and is said to be born of God, that is, regenerated? On the other hand, so far as one does not receive love and wisdom, or what is the same, charity and faith, he does not receive from God the life that is life in itself, but life from hell, and this is no other than inverted life which is called spiritual death.


From the foregoing it can be perceived and concluded that the following things are not creatable, namely: (1) The infinite is not. (2) Love and wisdom are not. (3) Consequently life is not. (4) Light and heat are not. (5) Even activity itself viewed in itself is not. But organs receptive of these are creatable and have been created. These statements may be illustrated by the following comparisons: Light is not creatable, but its organ, the eye, is; sound, which is an activity of the atmosphere, is not creatable, but its organ, the ear, is; neither is heat, which is the primary active principle, for the reception of which all things in the three kingdoms of nature have been created, and according to this reception are acted upon, but do not act. [2] It is from the order of creation, that wherever there are actives there are also passives, and that these two should join themselves together as a one. If actives were creatable as passives are there would have been no need of the sun, and heat and light from it, but all created things would have permanent existence without these. But if these should be taken away the created universe would lapse into chaos. [3] The sun itself of this world consists of created substances, the activity of which produces fire. These things are presented for the sake of illustration. It would be the same with man, if spiritual light, which in its essence is wisdom, and spiritual heat, which in its essence is love, did not flow into man and were not received by him. The entire man is nothing but a form organized to receive light and heat, both from the natural world and from the spiritual world, for these two worlds correspond to each other. If it were denied that man is a form receptive of love and wisdom from God, influx would also be denied, and thus that all good is from God. Conjunction with God would also be denied, and consequently, that man can be an abode and temple of God would be an expression devoid of meaning.


But man does not know this from any light of reason, for that light is obscured by fallacies that arise from the appearances pertaining to the external bodily senses, and that are believed in. Man has no other feeling than that he lives from his own life, because the instrumental feels the principal to be its own, and is unable therefore to distinguish between the principal and the instrumental, for these two causes act together as one cause, according to a theory known in the learned world. The principal cause is life, and the instrumental cause is man's mind. The appearance is also that beasts possess life created within them, but this is a similar fallacy; for beasts are organs created to receive light and heat both from the natural world and from the spiritual world. For each species is a form of some natural love, and receives light and heat from the spirit world mediately through heaven and hell; the gentle beasts through heaven, and the fierce through hell. Man alone receives light and heat, that is, wisdom and love, immediately from the Lord. This is the difference.


That the Lord is Life in Himself, thus Life itself, He teaches in John: The Word was with God, and God was the Word; in Him was life, and the life was the light of men (John 1:1, 4). Again: As the Father hath life in Himself, so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself (5:26). And again: I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6). And again: He that followeth Me shall have the light of life (John 8:12).


IV. SO LONG AS MAN LIVES IN THE WORLD, HE IS KEPT MIDWAY BETWEEN HEAVEN AND HELL, AND IS THERE IN SPIRITUAL EQUILIBRIUM, WHICH IS FREEDOM OF CHOICE. In order to know what freedom of choice is and the nature of it, it is necessary to know its origin. Especially from a recognition of its origin it can be known, not only that there is such a thing as freedom of choice, but also what it is. Its origin is in the spiritual world, where man's mind is kept by the Lord. Man's mind is his spirit, which lives after death; and his spirit is constantly in company with its like in the spiritual world, and at the same time by means of the material body with which it is enveloped, it is with men in the natural world. Man does not know that in respect to his mind he is in the midst of spirits, for the reason that the spirits with whom he is in company in the spiritual world, think and speak spiritually, while his own spirit thinks and speaks naturally so long as he is in the material body; and the natural man cannot understand or perceive spiritual thought and speech, nor the reverse. This is why spirits cannot be seen. But when the spirit of man is in company with spirits in their world, he is also in spiritual thought and speech with them, because his mind is interiorly spiritual but exteriorly natural; therefore by means of his interiors he communicates with spirits, while by means of his exteriors he communicates with men. By such communication man has a perception of things, and thinks about them analytically. If it were not for such communication, man would have no more thought or other thought than a beast, and if all connection with spirits were taken away from him, he would instantly die. [2] But to make it comprehensible how man can be kept midway between heaven and hell and thereby in spiritual equilibrium from which he has freedom of choice, it shall be briefly explained. The spiritual world consists of heaven and hell; heaven then is overhead, and hell is beneath the feet, not, however, in the center of the globe inhabited by men, but below the lands of the spiritual world, which are also of spiritual origin, and therefore not extended [spatially], but with an appearance of extension. [3] Between heaven and hell there is a great interspace, which to those who are there appears like a complete orb. Into this interspace, evil exhales from hell in all abundance; while from heaven, on the other hand, good flows into it, also in all abundance. It was of this interspace that Abraham said to the rich man in hell: Between us and you there is a great gulf fixed; so that they who would pass from hence to you cannot, neither can they who are there cross over to us (Luke 16:26). Every man, as to his spirit, is in the midst of this interspace, solely for this reason, that he may be in freedom of choice. [4] Because this interspace is so large and because it appears to those who are there like a vast orb, it is called the World of Spirits. Moreover, it is full of spirits, because every man after death first goes there, and is there prepared either for heaven or for hell. There he is among spirits, in company with them, as formerly he was among men in the world. There is no purgatory there; that is a fiction invented by the Roman Catholics. But that world has been treated of particularly in the work on Heaven and Hell (London, 1758, n. 421-535).


Every man from infancy even to old age is changing his locality or situation in that world. When an infant he is kept in the eastern quarter towards the northern part; when a child, as he learns the first lessons of religion, he moves gradually from the north towards the south; when a youth, as he begins to exercise his own thoughts, he is borne southward; and afterwards when he judges for himself and becomes his own master, he is borne into the southern quarter towards the east, according to his growth in such things as have regard interiorly to God and love to the neighbor. But if he inclines to evil and imbibes it, he advances towards the west. For all in the spiritual world have their abodes according to the quarters; in the east are those who are in good from the Lord, because the sun, in the midst of which is the Lord, is in that quarter; in the north are those who are in ignorance; in the south, those who are in intelligence; and in the west, those who are in evil. Man himself is not kept as to his body in that interspace or middle region, but only as to his spirit; and as his spirit changes its state by advancing towards good or towards evil, so is it transferred to localities or situations in this quarter or in that, and comes into association with those who dwell there. But it must be understood that the Lord does not transfer man to this or that place, but man transfers himself in different ways. If he chooses good, he together with the Lord, or rather the Lord together with him, transfers his spirit towards the east. But if man chooses evil, he together with the devil, or rather the devil together with him, transfers his spirit towards the west. It must be noticed that where the term heaven is here used, the Lord also is meant, because the Lord is the all in all things of heaven; and where the term devil is used, hell also is meant, because all who are there are devils.


Man is kept in this great interspace, and midway therein continually, for the sole purpose that he may have freedom of choice in spiritual things, for this is a spiritual equilibrium, because it is an equilibrium between heaven and hell, thus between good and evil. All who are in that great interspace are, as to their interiors, conjoined either with the angels of heaven or with the devils of hell; or at the present day either with the angels of Michael or with the angels of the dragon. After death every man betakes himself to his own in that interspace and associates himself with those who are in a love similar to his own, for love conjoins everyone there with his like, and causes him to breathe out his soul freely, and to continue in his previous state of life. But the externals that do not make one with his internals are then gradually put off, and when this has been done the good man is raised up to heaven, and the evil man betakes himself to hell, each to such as he is at one with as to his ruling love.


This spiritual equilibrium, which is freedom of choice, may be illustrated by various forms of natural equilibrium. It is like the equilibrium of a man bound about his body or at his arms between two men of equal strength, one of whom draws the man between them to the right, and the other to the left, so that the man in the middle can freely turn this way or that as if unrestrained by any force; and if he turns toward the right he draws the man on his left forcibly toward him, even bringing him to the ground. It would be the same with any unresisting person, even if bound between three men on his right, and the same number on his left, of equal power; also if bound between camels or horses. [2] Spiritual equilibrium, which is freedom of choice, may be compared to a balance, in each scale of which equal weights are placed; but if a slight weight is then added to either scale, the tongue of the scale begins to vibrate. It is similar with a pole or large beam balanced on its support. Each and all things within man, as the heart, the lungs, the stomach, the liver, the pancreas, the spleen, the intestines, and the rest, are in such a state of equilibrium; and for this reason each is able to discharge its functions in perfect quiet. It is the same with all the muscles; if they were without such equilibrium all action and reaction would cease, and man would no longer act as a man. Since, then, all things of the body are in such equilibrium, so are all things of the brain, and consequently all things of the mind therein, which relate to the will and understanding. [3] There is a freedom also belonging to beasts, birds, fishes and insects; but these are impelled by their bodily senses, prompted by appetite and pleasure. Man would not be unlike these if his freedom to do were equal to his freedom to think. He, too, would then be impelled by his bodily senses, prompted by lust and pleasure. It is otherwise with one who heartily accepts the spiritual things of the church, and by means of them restrains his freedom of choice. Such a man is led by the Lord away from lusts and evil pleasures and his connate avidity for them, and acquires an affection for what is good, and turns away from evil. He is then transferred by the Lord nearer to the east, and at the same time to the south of the spiritual world, and is introduced into heavenly freedom, which is freedom indeed.


V. IT IS CLEARLY MANIFEST FROM THAT PERMISSION OF EVIL IN WHICH EVERYONE'S INTERNAL MAN IS THAT MAN HAS FREEDOM OF CHOICE IN SPIRITUAL THINGS. That man has freedom of choice in spiritual things must first be confirmed by generals and afterward by particulars which everyone will acknowledge at first hearing. The generals are: (1) That the wisest of mankind, Adam and his wife, suffered themselves to be seduced by a serpent. (2) That their first son Cain slew his brother Abel, and Jehovah God did not hinder them by speaking to them, but only by a curse after the deed. (3) That the Israelitish nation worshiped a golden calf in the desert, and yet Jehovah saw this from Mount Sinai, and did not prevent it. (4) That David numbered the people, and a plague was therefore sent upon them, by which so many thousands of men perished; and that God, not before but after the deed, sent Gad the prophet to David, and denounced punishment upon him. (5) That Solomon was permitted to establish idolatrous forms of worship. (6) And many kings after him were permitted to profane the temple and the holy things of the church, and at length that nation was permitted to crucify the Lord. (7) That Mohammed was permitted to establish a religion in many respects not conformable to Sacred Scripture. (8) That the Christian religion is divided into many sects, and each into heresies. (9) That there are so many impious persons in Christendom, and even a glorying in impieties, as also machinations and wiles even against the pious, righteous, and sincere. (10) That injustice sometimes triumphs over justice in law and business. (11) That even impious persons are exalted to honors, and become leaders in church and state. (12) That wars are permitted, the slaughter of so many men, and the plundering of so many cities, nations, and families; and so on. Can anyone deduce such things from any other source than the possession of freedom of choice by every man? The permission of evil known throughout the world has no other origin. That the laws of permission are also laws of Divine Providence may be seen in the work on The Divine Providence (Amsterdam, 1764, n. 234-274), where the foregoing examples are explained.


The particulars which prove that man has freedom of choice as much in spiritual things as in natural things, are innumerable. Let anyone, if he wishes, give attention to himself, and see whether he cannot, seventy times a day, or three hundred times a week, think of God, the Lord, the Holy Spirit, and Divine things, which are called the spiritual things of the church; and let him see whether in this he feels any compulsion, whether he is moved to think so by any pleasure, or even by any lust, and this whether he has faith or not. Consider also, in whatever state you may be, whether you are able to think about anything without freedom of choice, either in your conversation, or in your prayers to God, or in preaching, or even in listening. Does not freedom of choice carry every point in these actions? And still further, without freedom of choice in every particular, even to the most minute particulars, you could no more breathe than a statue; for respiration follows thought and speech therefrom in every step. I say, no more than a statue, rather no more than a beast, because a beast breathes from a natural freedom of choice, but man from a freedom of choice both in things natural and in things spiritual; for a man is not born like a beast. A beast is born with all the ideas that are attendant upon its natural love in matters pertaining to nutrition and propagation; but a man is born destitute of connate ideas, having only the capacity to know, understand, and become wise, and an inclination to love both himself and the world, and also the neighbor and God. This is why it is said that if freedom of choice were taken from man in all the particulars of his volition and thought, he could no more breathe than a statue, and why it is not said, no more than a beast.


No one denies that man has freedom of choice in natural things. But this a man has from his freedom of choice in spiritual things; for, as has been shown already, the Lord flows into every man from above or within with the Divine good and truth, and thereby breathes into man a life distinct from the life of beasts, and gives him the power and the will to receive the Divine good and Divine truth and to act from these; and this He never takes away from any. From this it follows that it is the unceasing will of the Lord that man should receive truth and do good, and thus become spiritual, and for this he was born; and to become spiritual without freedom of choice in spiritual things is as impossible as it is to thrust a camel through the eye of a sewing needle, or to touch a star in the firmament with the hand. That the ability to understand truth and to will it is given to every man, even to devils, and is never taken away, has been shown me by living experience. On one occasion one of those who were in hell was brought up into the world of spirits, and was there asked by angels from heaven whether he could understand the things they said to him, which were Divine spiritual things; and he said that he could. He was then asked why he did not accept such things; and he replied that he did not wish for them because he did not love them. He was then told that he could wish for them. He was astonished at this, and said that he could not. Therefore the angels breathed into his understanding the glory of reputation with its pleasantness, receiving which he did wish for them and even loved them. But presently he was sent back into his former state, in which he was a plunderer, an adulterer, and a calumniator of his neighbor; and then he no longer understood those things because he did not wish to do so. From this it is clear that man is man by virtue of his freedom of choice in spiritual things, and that without it he would be like a stock, or a stone, or the statue of Lot's wife.


That man would have no freedom of choice in civil, moral, and natural things, if he had none in spiritual things, is evident from this, that spiritual things, which are called theological, have their seat in the highest region of his mind, like the soul in the body. They have their seat there because there is the door through which the Lord enters into man. Beneath these are things civil, moral, and natural, which in man receive all their life from the spiritual things that have their abode above them. And because life from the highest regions flows in from the Lord, and man's life is an ability to think and will freely, and to speak and act therefrom, it follows that his freedom of choice in political and natural affairs is from that source and no other. From that spiritual freedom man has a perception of what is good and true, and of what is just and right in civil matters; and this perception is the understanding itself in its essence. [2] Man's freedom of choice in spiritual things is comparatively like the air in the lungs, which is inhaled, retained, and expelled in accordance with all the changes of his thought; and without that freedom he would be worse than one laboring under a nightmare, angina, or asthma. It is also like the blood in the heart; if this began to fail the heart would first palpitate, and then after a few convulsive movements, would cease to beat altogether. It may also be compared to a body in motion, which keeps moving as long as the effort in it continues; but both motion and effort cease at the same time. So also is it with the freedom of choice which man's will possesses. Both of these, freedom of choice and the will, may be called the living effort in man, for when volition ceases, action ceases, and when freedom of choice ceases volition ceases. [3] If man were deprived of spiritual freedom, it would be comparatively as if the wheels were taken from machinery, the fans from a windmill, or the sails from a vessel. It would even be as with one who in dying sends forth his last breath; for the life of man's spirit consists in his freedom of choice in spiritual things. The angels weep when they but hear it said that this freedom of choice is denied by many ministers of the church at this day; and they call this denial madness upon madness.


VI. WITHOUT FREEDOM OF CHOICE IN SPIRITUAL THINGS THE WORD WOULD BE OF NO USE, AND CONSEQUENTLY THE CHURCH WOULD BE NOTHING. It is known throughout the Christian world that in the broadest sense the Word means the law, or the book of the laws, in accordance with which man must live to obtain eternal life. And what is there more frequently taught in it than that man should do good and not evil, and should believe in God and not in idols? And it is full of commands and exhortations to do these things, and of blessings and promises of reward for those who do them, and of curses and threats for those who do not. To what purpose is this, if man has no freedom of choice in spiritual things, that is, in such things as relate to salvation and eternal life? Would it not be void of meaning, and subserve no use? And if man were to cling to the idea that he has no power and no liberty in spiritual things, and thus were to be separated from any power of will in spiritual matters, would the Sacred Scriptures then seem to him to be anything more than a blank sheet without a syllable upon it, or like a sheet upon which a whole inkstand had been emptied, or like mere curves and dots without any letters, therefore like an empty volume? [2] To confirm this from the Word ought not to be necessary, but as the churches of today have poured themselves forth in mental inanities respecting spiritual things, and to confirm these have brought forth passages from the Word which have been falsely interpreted, it may be well to present others which command man to do and to believe. Such are the following: The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof (Matt. 21:43). Bring forth fruits worthy of repentance. And even now the axe is laid unto the root of the tree; every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire (Luke 3:8, 9). Jesus said, Why call ye Me Lord, Lord, and do not the things that I say? Everyone who cometh to Me, and heareth My words, and doeth them, is like a man building a house upon a rock. But he that heareth and doeth not, is like unto a man that built a house upon the ground without a foundation (Luke 6:46-49). Jesus said, My mother and My brethren are those who hear the Word of God and do it (Luke 8:21). We know that God heareth not sinners; but if one worship God, and do His will, him He heareth (John 9:31). If ye know these things, blessed are ye if ye do them (John 13:17). He that hath My commandments and doeth them, he it is that loveth Me; and I will love him (John 14:21). Herein is My Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit (John 15:8). Ye are My friends if ye do whatsoever I command you; I have chosen you, that ye should bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain (John 15:14, 16). Make the tree good, the tree is known by its fruit (Matt. 12:33). Bring forth fruits worthy of repentance (Matt. 3:8). He that is sown upon good ground this is he that heareth the Word, and beareth fruit (Matt. 13:23). He that reapeth receiveth reward, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal (John 4:36). Wash you, make you clean, put away the evil of your doings; learn to do good (Isa. 1:16, 17). The Son of man shall come in the glory of His Father, and then He shall render unto everyone according to his deeds (Matt. 16:27). And shall come forth, they that have done goods, unto the resurrection of life (John 5:29). Their works do follow with them (Apoc. 14:13). Behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give to every man according to his work (Apoc. 22:12). Jehovah whose eyes are open to give everyone according to his ways. According to our doings, hath He dealt with us (Jer. 32:19; Zech. 1:6). [3] The Lord teaches the same in His parables, many of which imply that those who do good will be accepted while those who do evil will be rejected, As in the parable of the workmen in the vineyard (Matt. 21:33-44). Of the talents and pounds given to trade with (Matt. 25:14-31; Luke 19:13-25). So also of Faith; Jesus said, Whosoever believeth in Me shall never die, but shall live (John 11:25, 26). This is the will of the Father, that everyone who believeth in the Son may have eternal life (John 6:40). He that believeth on the Son hath eternal life but he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him (John 3:36). For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but have eternal life (John 3:16.) And again: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind; and thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets (Matt. 22:37-40). But these are only a very few of such passages in the Word, and they are like a few cups of water from the sea.


Who does not see the emptiness (I do not wish to say the foolishness) of the extracts quoted above (n. 464) from the ecclesiastical work entitled Formula Concordiae, when he has read them, together with some passages quoted here and elsewhere from the Word? Would he not think to himself: If it were as there taught, that man has no freedom of choice in spiritual things, what but an idle word would religion be, which is doing good? And what is the church apart from religion but like a bark about a stick which is fit for nothing but to be burned? And he would think, moreover, If there is no church because no religion, what are heaven and hell but the fables of ministers and rulers of the church to ensnare the people, and elevate themselves to higher honors? And this is the source of that detestable saying on the lips of many: Who can do good, or acquire faith of himself? Consequently they disregard these things, and live like pagans. But my friend, shun evil and do good and believe in the Lord from all your heart and in all your soul, and the Lord will love you, and will give you a love of doing and faith to believe. Then from love you will do good, and from faith, which is trust, you will believe; and if you persevere in so doing, a reciprocal conjunction will be effected, which will be perpetual, and this is salvation itself and eternal life. If man from the powers given him should fail to do good, and from his mind should fail to believe in the Lord, what would he be but a wilderness and a desert, or altogether like dry ground, which does not receive the rain, but throws it off or like a sandy plain where there are sheep without pasture? And he would be like a dried-up fountain, or like stagnant water therein, its course being obstructed; or like an abode where there is neither harvest nor water, where, unless he quickly fled from the place and sought a habitable abode elsewhere, he would perish with hunger and thirst.


VII. WITHOUT FREEDOM OF CHOICE IN SPIRITUAL THINGS, THERE WOULD BE NOTHING IN MAN WHEREBY HE COULD IN TURN CONJOIN HIMSELF WITH THE LORD; CONSEQUENTLY THERE WOULD BE NO IMPUTATION, BUT MERE PREDESTINATION, WHICH IS DETESTABLE. That without freedom of choice in spiritual things there would be neither charity nor faith in any man, still less a conjunction of the two, has been fully shown in the chapter on Faith. From this it follows, that without freedom of choice in spiritual things there would be nothing in man whereby the Lord could conjoin Himself to him, and yet, without reciprocal conjunction, no reformation or regeneration, and thus no salvation is possible. That without a reciprocal conjunction of man with the Lord, and of the Lord with man, there would be no imputation, is an irrefragable consequence. The conclusions that follow from confirming the idea that there is any imputation of good and evil without freedom of choice in spiritual things, are numerous, and in the latter part of this work, where it treats of the heresies, paradoxes, and contradictions flowing from the faith of the present day, which imputes to man the merit and righteousness of the Lord God the Savior, these preposterous conclusions will be exposed.


Predestination is an offspring of the faith of the present church, for it is born from a belief in man's absolute impotence, with no power of choice in spiritual things; it is born from this doctrine and also from the belief in man's conversion as being a dead thing, in that he is like a stock, and has therefore no conscious knowledge whether he is a stock vivified by grace or not. For it is said that election is of the mere grace of God, exclusive of all human action, whether it proceed from the powers of nature or of reason, and that it takes place where and when God wills, thus from His good pleasure. The works that follow faith as evidences thereof, resemble, to a reflecting mind, the works of the flesh; and the spirit which produces them does not make evident their origin, but effects them out of grace or good pleasure, like faith itself. [2] From all this it is clear that the dogma of the present church respecting predestination has come forth from this belief like a shoot from its seed; and I may say that it has flowed forth out of it as an almost inevitable consequence. This consequence was first reached by the Predestinarians, then by Gottschalk, afterwards by Calvin and his disciples, and was at length firmly established by the Synod of Dort, and from that was carried forth into the church as the palladium of religion, or rather as the head of Gorgon or Medusa engraved on the shield of Pallas by the Supralapsarians and Infra-Lapsarians. [3] But what more pernicious thing could have been devised, or could anything more cruel be believed of God, than that some of the human race are damned by predestination? For would it not be a cruel creed, that the Lord, who is love itself and mercy itself, should desire a multitude to be born for hell, or that myriads of myriads should be born doomed, that is, devils and satans; also that from His Divine wisdom, which is infinite, He should not have provided and does not provide, that those who live well and acknowledge God should not be cast into eternal fire and torment? He is ever the Lord, the Creator and Savior of all, and He alone leads all, and desires not the death of any. Therefore, what more infamous thing could be believed or thought than that whole nations and peoples should, under His auspices and oversight, be handed over by predestination to the devil as his prey, to satisfy his voracity? But this is an offspring of the faith of the present church; the faith of the New Church abhors it as a monster.


I had thought that such senseless doctrine never could have been sanctioned by any Christian, much less have found utterance and a public promulgation; and yet this was done by many chosen men of the clergy at the Synod of Dort, in Holland, and the creed was afterward elegantly written and given to the public; and because of this and to remove my doubts, some of those who aided in framing the decrees of that synod were sent to me. When they appeared standing near me, I said, "Who from any sound reason can reach the conclusion that predestination is true doctrine? Can it be that any but cruel ideas of God and shameful ideas of religion should flow from it? When anyone has engraved predestination on his heart by means of confirmations must he not think of all that pertains to the church as destitute of meaning, and the same of the Word? And must he not think of God, who has predestined to hell so many myriads of men, as a tyrant?" [2] At these remarks they looked at me with a satanic expression, and said, "We were among those chosen to form the Synod of Dort, and we then confirmed ourselves and have since continued to do so still more in many ideas respecting God, the Word, and religion, which we have not dared to make public; but when we have spoken on these subjects and taught them, we have twisted and woven a web of various colored threads, and over it strewed feathers borrowed from the wings of peacocks." But because they still wished to do the same, the angels, by power given them by the Lord, closed the externals of their minds and opened the internals, and from these they were compelled to speak. And then they said, "Our faith, which we have formed by conclusions, one following from another, was and still is as follows: [3] (1) "That there is no Word of Jehovah God, but some windy afflatus from the mouths of the prophets. This we have thought, because the Word predestines all to heaven, and teaches that man alone is in fault if he does not walk in the ways that lead thither. (2) That religion exists because it is necessary; but it is like a strong wind bearing a fragrant odor for the vulgar; therefore that it ought to be taught by ministers, both small and great, and from the Word too, because the Word is accepted. This we have thought, because where there is predestination there religion is a nullity. (3) That the civil laws of justice are religion; but predestination is not determined by a life in accord with those laws, but by the pure good pleasure of God, as with a king in whose mere glance there is absolute power. (4) The all that the church teaches ought to be exploded as vanity, and rejected as rubbish, except that there is a God. (5) That spiritual things, which are so cried up, are nothing but ethereal substances beneath the sun, which induce upon man, if they penetrate deeply into him, vertigo and stupor, and make him a detestable monster in the sight of God." (6) When they were asked about faith (from which they deduced predestination), whether they believed it to be spiritual, they said that it was effected according to predestination, but when it is given men were like stocks. From this they are indeed vivified, but not spiritually. [4] After these horrible sayings they wished to go away; but I said to them, "Wait a little longer, and I will read you something from Isaiah;" and I read the following: Rejoice not, O Philistia, all of thee, because the rod that smiteth thee is broken; for out of the serpent's root hath gone forth a cockatrice, whose fruit shall be a fiery flying serpent (Isa. 14:29). And this I explained by the spiritual sense, showing that "Philistia" means the church separate from charity; that the "cockatrice" that had gone forth from the serpent's root means its doctrine of three Gods and of imputative faith applied to each singly; and that its "fruit," which is a fiery flying serpent, means no imputation of good and evil, but immediate mercy, whether man lives well or ill. [5] Hearing this, they said, "It may be so; but from that volume which you call the Holy Word select something on predestination." And I opened the book, and in the same Prophet I came upon the following passage, which suited the purpose: They hatched viper's eggs and wove the spider's web; he that eateth of their eggs dieth: and when one is crushed it breaketh out into a viper (Isa. 59:5). Hearing this, they could not endure the explanation; but some of those who had been sent to me (there were five) hurried away into a cave, round about which appeared a dusky burning, a sign that they had neither faith nor charity. Evidently, therefore, the decree of that synod respecting predestination is not only an insane but a cruel heresy; and ought, therefore, to be so rooted out from the brain that not a single vestige of it shall be left.


The inhuman belief that God predestinates man to hell, may be likened to the inhumanity of fathers among certain barbarous races, who cast their sucklings and infants into the streets; or to the inhumanity of some warriors who throw their slain into forests to be devoured by wild beasts. It may also be likened to the cruelty of a tyrant, who divides a people he has subdued into classes, giving some of them to the hangman, throwing some into the depths of the sea, and some into the fire. It may also be likened to the fury of some wild beasts, which devour their own young; and also to the madness of dogs that fly at the reflection of themselves in a minor.


VIII. IF THERE WERE NO FREEDOM OF CHOICE IN SPIRITUAL THINGS, GOD WOULD BE THE CAUSE OF EVILS AND THUS THERE WOULD BE NO IMPUTATION. That God is the cause of evil follows from the prevailing belief, which was first hatched by those who held council in the city of Nice. There was concocted and established the still persistent heresy, that there were from eternity three Divine persons, each one a God by Himself. This egg being hatched, the adherents of the belief must needs approach each Person separately as God. They compiled a creed that imputed to men the merit or righteousness of the Lord God the Savior; and that no man might share with the Lord in that merit, they took away from man all freedom of choice in spiritual things, and decreed the utmost impotence as to that faith. And as they deduced everything spiritual pertaining to the church from that faith alone, they asserted a like impotence with reference to everything that the church teaches concerning salvation. Hence sprung, one after another, direful heresies based upon that faith and man's impotence in spiritual things, and also that most pernicious heresy, predestination, which was treated of in the preceding section; all of which imply that God is the cause of evil, or that He created both good and evil. But, my friend, put faith in no council, but in the Lord's Word, which is above councils. What have not Roman Catholic councils produced? Or that of Dort, from which came forth that terrible viper, predestination? It may be thought that giving to man freedom of choice in spiritual things was the mediate cause of evil; consequently, that if such freedom of choice had not been given him, he could not have transgressed. But, my friend, pause here, and consider whether any man could have been so created as to be a man without freedom of choice in spiritual things. If deprived of that, he would be no longer a man but only a statue. What is freedom of choice but the power to will and do, and to think and speak to all appearance as if of oneself? Because this power was given to man in order that he might live as a man, two trees were placed in the garden of Eden, the tree of life and the tree of the Knowledge of good and evil; and this signifies that because of the freedom given him, man is able to eat of the fruit of the tree of life or of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.


That everything that God created was good, appears from the first chapter of Genesis where it is said (verses 10, 12, 18, 21, 25), "God saw that it was good;" and finally (in verse 31), that "God saw everything that He had made, and behold it was very good;" also from man's primeval state in paradise. But that evil has its origin in man, is plain from Adam's state succeeding the fall, or after it, in that he was expelled from paradise. From this it is clear that unless freedom of choice in spiritual things had been given to man, not man, but God would have been the cause of evil, and thus God would have been the creator both of good and of evil. But to think that God created evil is abominable. Because God gave man freedom of choice in spiritual things He did not create evil, neither does He ever inspire any evil into man, for the reason that He is good itself, and in that good is omnipresent, continually urging and importuning to be received; and even when not received, He does not withdraw; for if He were to withdraw, man would instantly die, nay, would lapse into non-entity; for man's life, and the subsistence of all things of which he consists, are from God. God did not create evil, but evil was introduced by man himself, since man turns the good which is continually flowing in from God into evil, whereby he turns himself away from God and toward himself; and when this is done, delight in good remains, but then becomes delight in evil; for unless a delight seemingly similar remained, man could not continue to live; since delight constitutes the life of his love. Nevertheless these two kinds of delight are diametrically opposite to each other; but man does not know this so long as he lives in the world; but he will know it after death and will have a clear perception of it, for then delight of the love of good is turned into heavenly blessedness, while delight of the love of evil is turned into infernal horror. From the foregoing it is evident that every man was predestined to heaven, and no one to hell; but that man gives himself over to hell by the abuse of his freedom of choice in spiritual things, whereby he embraces such things as exhale from hell. For, as before said, every man is kept midway between heaven and hell, that he may be in a state of equilibrium between good and evil, and consequently in freedom of choice in spiritual things.


That God has implanted freedom not only in man, but also in every beast, and an analogue of it even in things inanimate, enabling each to receive it according to its nature, as He also provides what is good for them all; but that the objects themselves turn the good into evil, may be illustrated by comparisons. The atmosphere gives to every man the ability to breathe, and in like manner to every beast tame or wild, also to every bird, the owl and dove alike; it also gives the ability to fly, and yet it is not the atmosphere that causes its gifts to be received by creatures of contrary genius and nature. The ocean furnishes in itself an abode and also offers nourishment, to every fish; but the ocean does not cause one fish there to devour another; or the crocodile to turn its food into poison with which it kills men. The sun provides heat and light for all things; but objects, such as the various vegetable productions of the earth, receive these diversely, a good tree and a good shrub in one way, and the thorn and thistle in another; or a harmless herb in one way, and a poisonous herb in another. The rain falls from the higher region of the atmosphere upon all parts of the earth; and the earth administers the waters therefrom to every shrub, herb, and grass, and each one of them takes to itself according to its need. This is what is called an analogue of freedom of choice, because they drink in the rain freely through their little mouths, pores, and ducts, which stand open in the warm seasons, the earth merely supplying the fluids and elements, and the plants partaking of them from a certain kind of hunger and thirst. The like is true of men, in that the Lord flows into every man with spiritual heat, which in its essence is good of love, and with spiritual light, which in its essence is the truth of wisdom; but man receives these according to whether he turns towards God or towards self. Therefore the Lord, in teaching about love towards the neighbor, says: That ye may be the children of the Father, who maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust (Matt. 5:45). And elsewhere He says: That He desires the salvation of all.


To the foregoing I add this Memorable Relation: Several times I have heard expressions respecting good of charity made to descend from heaven, which passed through the world of spirits and penetrated into hell, even to its depths; and in their progress these expressions were turned into such as were directly contrary to good of charity, and finally into expressions of hatred of the neighbor; a sign that everything that goes forth from the Lord is good, and that it is turned into evil by the spirits in hell. The same was done with certain truths of faith, which in their progress were turned into the opposite falsities. For it is the recipient form itself that turns whatever enters into it into what is in accord with itself.


IX. EVERYTHING SPIRITUAL OF THE CHURCH THAT ENTERS INTO MAN IN FREEDOM, AND IS RECEIVED WITH FREEDOM, REMAINS; BUT NOT THE REVERSE. That which is received by man with freedom remains in him, because freedom belongs to his will; and because it belongs to his will it also belongs to his love. That the will is the receptacle of love has been shown elsewhere. That everything belonging to love is free, and also is of the will everyone understands when it is said, "This I will, because I love it," and on the other hand, "Because I love this I will it." But man's will is two-fold, interior and exterior, that is, it belongs to the internal and to the external man; therefore a deceiver may act and talk before the world in one way and with his familiar friends in another way. Before the world he acts and talks from the will of his external man, but with his familiar friends from the will of his internal man; but the will here meant is that of the internal man, where his ruling love dwells. From these few remarks it is clear that the interior will is the man himself, for in it is the very being and essence of his life; while the understanding is the form thereof whereby the will renders its love visible. Everything that man loves and wills from love is free; for whatever proceeds from the love of the internal will is his life's delight; and because this is the being of his life, it is also his very own [proprium]; and this is why that which is received with the freedom of this will, remains, for it adds itself to what is his own. On the contrary, anything that is introduced into man when he is not in freedom is not thus received. But of this in what follows.


But it must be well understood that the spiritual things of the Word and church which man imbibes from love, and which his understanding confirms are what remain in him, but not so things civil and political; because spiritual things ascend into the highest region of the mind, and there take form. This is because the Lord's entrance into man with Divine truths and goods is there, and that region is like a temple in which He resides. But because things civil and political belong to the world, they occupy the lower regions of the mind, and some of them become there like little buildings around that temple, and some like vestibules through which there is entrance. Another reason why the spiritual things of the church dwell in the highest region of the mind, is that they belong to the soul, and have regard to its eternal life; and the soul is in things highest, and derives its nourishment from no other than spiritual food. This is why the Lord calls Himself "Bread," for He says: I am the living bread which came down out of heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever (John 6:51). That region is also the seat of man's love, which is the source of his happiness after death; and there too his freedom of choice in spiritual things chiefly resides, and from this descends all the freedom that man possesses in natural things; and such being the origin of this freedom it enters into all forms of freedom of choice in natural things, and by means of these the ruling love, which occupies the highest region, takes on whatever is conducive to its own ends. The communication between these is like that between a spring and the waters that flow from it, or like the communication between the prolific principle itself of a seed and each and all parts of the tree, especially the fruit, in which it renews itself. But when anyone denies freedom of choice in spiritual things, and thus rejects it, he makes for himself another fountain, and opens a channel from that; and this changes spiritual freedom into merely natural and finally into infernal, freedom. And infernal freedom becomes like the prolific principle of a seed, freely traversing the trunk and branches to the fruit, which owing to its origin is inwardly rotten.


All freedom that is from the Lord is freedom indeed, but that which is from hell, and in man therefrom, is bondage. Yet to one who is in infernal freedom spiritual freedom must needs appear like bondage, because the two are opposite. But all who are in spiritual freedom not only know, but also see, that infernal freedom is bondage; and the angels therefore turn away from that freedom as from a cadaverous stench, while infernal spirits draw it in like an aromatic odor. It is known from the Lord's Word that worship from freedom is truly worship, and that spontaneity is pleasing to the Lord; therefore it is said in David: I will freely sacrifice unto God (Ps. 54:6). The willing ones of the people are gathered together, even the people of the God of Abraham (Ps. 47:9). Therefore there were free will offerings among the children of Israel; their sacred worship consisted chiefly of sacrifices, and because of God's pleasure in what is spontaneous, it was commanded: That every man whose heart impelled him, and everyone whose willing spirit moved him, should bring an offering to Jehovah for the work of the tabernacle (Ex. 35:5, 21, 29). And the Lord says: If ye abide in My Word, ye are truly My disciples; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. If therefore the Son shall make you free, ye shall be truly free. But everyone that committeth sin is the servant of sin (John 8:31-36).


That which a man receives with freedom remains, because his will accepts it and appropriates it, and because it enters his love, and the love acknowledges it as its own, and by means of it is formed. This shall be illustrated by comparisons, in which, because they are taken from natural things, heat will be substituted for love. It is well known that by means of heat, and according to the amount of it, the doors are opened in every plant, and as these are opened the plant inwardly returns into the form of its nature, spontaneously partakes of its proper nutriment, retains what is suitable, and grows. It is the same with a beast; all that it selects and eats from the love of nutrition which is called appetite, is added to its body, and thus remains. That which is suitable is continually added to the body, because all its components are perpetually renewed. This is known to be so, although by few. [2] Also with beasts heat opens all parts of the body, and causes their natural love to act freely. This is why in spring and summer they enter and return into the instinct of propagating and rearing their young, which they do from the utmost freedom, because to do so belongs to the ruling love implanted in them by creation for the sake of preserving the universe in the state in which it was created. [3] The freedom of love may be illustrated by this freedom induced by heat, because love produces heat, as is evident from its effects, for man is enkindled, heated, and inflamed as love is exalted to zeal, or to a blaze of anger. The heat of the blood or the vital heat of men, and of animals in general, is from no other source. It is because of this correspondence that it is by heat that the bodily parts are adapted to receive freely those things to which the love aspires. [4] In such equilibrium and consequent freedom are all things that are within man. In such freedom the heart propels its blood upward and downward alike, the mesentery distributes its chyle, the liver does its work for the blood, the kidneys secrete, the glands filter and so on. If this equilibrium were to suffer the member would sicken, and would labor under a paralysis or loss of strength; and herein equilibrium and freedom are one. There is not a substance in the created universe that does not tend to equilibrium, in order that it may be in freedom.


X. MAN'S WILL AND UNDERSTANDING ARE IN THIS FREEDOM OF CHOICE; NEVERTHELESS IN BOTH WORLDS, THE SPIRITUAL AND THE NATURAL, THE DOING OF EVIL IS RESTRAINED BY LAWS; BECAUSE OTHERWISE SOCIETY IN BOTH WORLDS WOULD PERISH. Every man can know that he has freedom of choice in spiritual things merely by observing his own thought. Is not any man able to think in freedom about God, the Trinity, charity and the neighbor, faith and its operation, and about the Word and all its teachings, and, when he has studied theology, about the particulars of these subjects? And who cannot think and even draw conclusions, and teach and write, either for or against these things? If man were deprived of this freedom for a single moment, could he continue to think; would not his tongue be dumb, and his hand powerless? Therefore, my friend, you may if you choose, by merely observing your own thought, reject and detest that absurd and hurtful heresy, which at this day has induced upon Christendom a lethargy respecting the heavenly doctrine of charity and faith, and of salvation thereby, and eternal life. [2] The reasons why this freedom of choice resides in man's will and understanding are the following: (1) Because these two faculties must first be instructed and reformed, and then by means of these the two faculties of the external man, which cause him to speak and act. (2) Because these two faculties of the internal man constitute his spirit which lives after death, and which is subject only to Divine law, the primary thing of which is, that man should think of the law, should practice and obey it of himself, although from the Lord. [3] (3) Because, as to his spirit, man is midway between heaven and hell, thus between good and evil, and therefore in equilibrium, and in consequence of this he has freedom of choice in spiritual things (on which equilibrium see above, n. 475 seq.). But so long as man lives in the world, he is as to his spirit in equilibrium between heaven and the world, and then he is scarcely aware that so far as he withdraws from heaven and draws nearer to the world, he draws near to hell. He is aware of this and yet not aware, in order that even in this respect he may be in freedom, and may be reformed. [4] (4) Because these two, the will and the understanding, are the two receptacles of the Lord, the will the receptacle of love and charity, the understanding the receptacle of wisdom and faith; and each one of these is made active by the Lord while man is in complete freedom, in order that there may be a mutual and reciprocal conjunction between them, whereby salvation is effected. (5) Because all the judgment that is effected in man after death is in accord with the use he has made of freedom of choice in spiritual things.


The conclusion from all this is that freedom of choice itself in spiritual things resides in the soul of man in all perfection, and from that it flows, like a stream into a fountain, into his mind, into the two parts of it, which are the will and the understanding, and through these into the bodily senses, and into speech and actions. For in man there are three degrees of life, the soul, the mind, and the sentient body; and all that is included in the higher degree is more perfect than that which is in a lower degree. It is this freedom of man, through which, in which, and with which, the Lord is present in him, and unceasingly urgent to be received; but He in no way sets aside or takes away this freedom, since, as said above, whatever man does in spiritual things, that is not done from freedom, does not endure. It may therefore be said that the Lord's abode in man is this freedom of man which is in his soul. [2] It is evident without explanation that the doing of evil, in both the spiritual and the natural world, is restrained by laws, since otherwise society would everywhere cease to exist. Nevertheless, it must be made clear that without such external bonds, not only would society cease to exist, but the whole human race would perish. For man is enticed by two loves, the love of ruling over all, and the love of possessing the wealth of all. These loves, if uncurbed, rush onward to infinity. The hereditary evils into which man is born have arisen principally from these two loves; nor was the sin of Adam any other than a desire to become as God, which evil the serpent infused into him, as it is written; therefore in the curse pronounced upon him it is said: That the earth should bring forth the thorn and the thistle to him (Gen. 3:5, 18); which means all evil and falsity therefrom. All who are enslaved by these loves, look upon themselves as the one only object, in which and for which all others exist. Such have no pity, no fear of God, no love for the neighbor; consequently they are unmerciful, inhuman and cruel, and are possessed by an infernal lust and greed for robbing and plundering, and by craft and cunning in working out their purposes. Such evils are not innate in the beasts of the earth; these do not slaughter and devour each other, except from the love of satisfying their hunger or defending themselves. Therefore a wicked man, viewed with reference to these loves, is more inhuman, fiercer, and worse than any beast. [3] That man is inwardly such, is manifest in seditious disturbances when the bonds of law are loosed, and also in massacres and pillaging, when the signal is given to soldiers that they are free to satiate their fury upon the conquered or besieged; from which scarcely anyone desists until the drum beats the order to do so. From all this it is clear that if no fear of legal penalties restrained men, not only society, but the whole human race, would be destroyed. But none of these evils can be removed except by the true use of freedom of choice in spiritual things, and this is done by directing the mind to reflection upon the state of life after death.


But this shall be still further illustrated by comparisons, as follows: Without some kind of freedom of choice in all created things, both animate and inanimate, no creation could have taken place; for without freedom of choice in natural things for beasts there would be no choice of food conducive to their nourishment, and no propagation and preservation of offspring; thus, no beasts. If the fishes of the sea and the shellfish at its bottom, had no such freedom, there would be no fish or shellfish. In like manner, unless this freedom were in every insect, there would be no silk-worm yielding silk, no bee furnishing wax and honey, no butterfly sporting with its consort in the air, feeding on the juices of flowers, and representing, after he has shed his exuviae as a worm, the happy state of man in the heavenly realm. [2] Unless there were something analogous to freedom of choice in the earth's soil, in the seed sown in it, in all parts of the tree that has grown out of it, and in its fruit, and again in the new seed, there would be no plant life. Unless there were something analogous to freedom of choice in every metal, and in every stone both precious and common, there would be no metal or stone, or even a grain of sand; for even this freely absorbs the ether, emits its natural exhalations, throws off its worn-out elements and restores itself with new. From this there is a magnetic sphere about the magnet, an iron sphere about iron, a coppery one about copper, a silver sphere about silver, a golden one about gold, a stony sphere about stone, a nitrous sphere about niter, a sulfur sphere about sulfur, and a different sphere about every particle of dust. From this sphere the inmost of every seed is impregnated, and its prolific principle vegetates; for without such an exhalation from every least particle of the earth's dust, there would be no beginning of germination and no continuance of it. How could the earth, except by what is exhaled from it, penetrate with dust and water to the inmost center of a grain sown in it, as into a grain of mustard seed, for example: Which is less than all seeds, but when it is grown, it is greater than herbs, and becometh a tree? (Matt. 13:32; Mark. 4:30-32). [3] Since freedom has been thus implanted in all created subjects, in each according to its nature, why should not freedom of choice have been implanted in man according to his nature, that he may become spiritual? This is the reason that free will in spiritual things is given to man, from the womb to the last hour of his life in the world, and afterward to eternity.


XI. IF MEN HAD NOT FREEDOM OF CHOICE IN SPIRITUAL THINGS, ALL THE INHABITANTS OF THE WORLD MIGHT IN ONE DAY BE LED TO BELIEVE IN THE LORD; BUT THIS CANNOT BE DONE, BECAUSE THAT WHICH IS NOT RECEIVED BY MAN WITH FREEDOM OF CHOICE DOES NOT REMAIN. That God could, in one day, if freedom of choice in spiritual things had not been given to man, lead all the inhabitants of the world to believe in Him, follows as a true conclusion from the Divine omnipotence when not rightly understood. Those who do not understand the Divine omnipotence, may suppose either that there is no such thing as order, or that God can act contrary to order as well as according to it; when yet, without order, no creation was possible. The primary thing of order is for man to be an image of God, consequently, that he be continually perfecting in love and wisdom, and thus becoming that image more and more. To this end God is working continually in man; but this would be in vain, for it would be impossible, if man were destitute of freedom of choice in spiritual things, whereby he could turn to God and reciprocally conjoin himself with God. For there is an order from which and according to which the whole universe, with each and all things in it, was created; and because all creation was effected from that order and according to it God is called order itself. Thus it is the same whether we say, acting contrary to order, or acting contrary to God. God Himself, even, cannot act contrary to His own Divine order, since this would be to act contrary to His very Self; and therefore He leads every man according to that order which is Himself, guiding the wandering and the fallen into it, and the resisting toward it. If man could have been created without freedom of choice in spiritual things, what would have been more easy for an omnipotent God than to lead all the inhabitants of the world to believe in the Lord? Could He not have implanted this faith in everyone, both without means and by means, without means by His absolute power and its irresistible operation, which is unceasing in its efforts to save man; or by means, through torments brought upon man's conscience, or through mortal convulsions of the body and awful threats of death, if he did not receive that faith; or still further, by the opening of hell and the presence of devils therefrom holding frightful torches in their hands, or by calling forth therefrom the dead whom they had known, in the forms of fearful specters? But to all this there is a reply in the words of Abraham to the rich man in hell, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead (Luke 16:31).

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